Saudi officials intensify health, security measures ahead of the Hajj

World Today

Muslim worshippers perform prayers around the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca on August 28, 2017, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city. / AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB

Nearly two million Muslims from around the world have arrived for the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca. Officials have stepped up security in the region, hoping to avoid a tragedy similar to the stampede that occurred two years ago.

CGTN’s Yasser Hakim reports from the site of Islam’s holiest place of worship.

Saudi officials have stepped up precautionary measures like never before. Additional checkpoints have been added in Mecca, and extra medical support brought in by the Saudi Red Crescent.

Meanwhile, Qataris have forgone this year’s pilgrimage amid diplomatic tensions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Officially, there is disappointment with Qatar’s stance. Saudi Arabia has offered to carry Qatar pilgrims for free as sign of goodwill, but the Qatari government refused.

This year’s Hajj officially starts on Aug. 30, and ends Sept. 4. Worshipers will be moving to Mena and Mount Arafat for one night of prayers.