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HomeWorld News1,079 pilgrims out of 1,301 who died during Hajj lacked official permits

1,079 pilgrims out of 1,301 who died during Hajj lacked official permits

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Muslim pilgrims walk with umbrellas on the third day of the devil stoning ritual, amid extremely hot weather, during the annual haj pilgrimage, in Mina, Saudi Arabia, June 18, 2024. — Reuters
Muslim pilgrims walk with umbrellas on the third day of the devil stoning ritual, amid extremely hot weather, during the annual haj pilgrimage, in Mina, Saudi Arabia, June 18, 2024. — Reuters 

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior said Tuesday that 83% — 1,079 out of 1,301 — of the total deaths during the Hajj pilgrimage 2024 were of those who did not have an official permit. 

Speaking in an interview with Al-Arabiya, Security spokesperson Colonel Talal bin Abdul Mohsen bin Shalhoub highlighted the proactive efforts to intensify media and awareness campaigns against performing Hajj without permits and to enforce stricter penalties for violators.

He pointed out that some individuals have been abusing visit visas and other non-Hajj-specific visas in the Kingdom. 

Furthermore, Colonel Shalhoub noted that some tourism companies in several brotherly countries have deceived visit visa holders by issuing visas not intended for Hajj and encouraging them to violate regulations by staying in Makkah two months before the Hajj season.

The spokesperson emphasised that a Hajj permit is not merely a transit card but a crucial tool that facilitates access to pilgrims and identifies their locations to provide necessary care and services promptly. The absence of a permit poses challenges in some violators to offer services and healthcare.

Colonel Shalhoub mentioned the continuous updates through the Public Security’s official social media accounts about apprehending those who promote fake Hajj campaigns and referring them to the public prosecution. 

He also appreciated the strict measures taken by some brotherly countries against these deceptive companies and the corrective actions they have implemented to prevent future violations.

The deceased pilgrims belonged to more than 10 countries, ranging from the United States to Indonesia, and some governments are still updating their figures.

The cause of death in most cases was heat-related as temperatures in Makkah this year climbed as high as 51.8°C, according to Saudi Arabia’s national meteorological centre.

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