Saturday, December 22, 2007

Hajis Throng Makkah for Farewell Tawaf

Friday, 21 December 2007
By Abdullah Al-Hariri and Adel Al-Malki

Saudi Gazette

MINA - Surrounded by well-planned security measures at the Jamrt area, about 2.5 million pilgrims performed Thursday the stoning ritual at all three walls symbolizing Satan.

The new measure to allot specific timings to different pilgrim establishments for the stoning ritual helped manage the flow of traffic. All seven gates that lead to the Jamrat Bridge were well-organized. Abdullah Al-Shaqiqi, an emergency officer, said all policemen in the area implemented the directive to prevent pilgrims from carrying their luggage onto the bridge. Five checkpoints were set up to seize any luggage.

Sami Hamed, who came to serve in Haj from Jeddah Police, said that there are some exceptions for those who carry necessary medicines in their bags.

However, most of the pilgrims preferred to perform their ritual from the ground floor to avoid the sun while local pilgrims made it after the Asr prayer.

More than 250,000 pilgrims from Malaysia and Indonesia requested their Tawafa offices to postpone the stoning until overcrowding ends.

Major Saleem Al-Hothali, head of the control at the Bridge, said there were more than 120 cameras to monitor the flow of pilgrims.

Al-Hothali said the second floor of the bridge was for pilgrims who came from Makkah.
He noted that the jam in the ground floor was due to the huge number of pilgrims who came from the east side of Mina.

Heath status of pilgrims in Mina was good, according to the daily report of the Ministry of Health. The report said more than 520 pilgrims were admitted to the ministry hospitals and centers.

More than 30 ambulances participated with other government bodies near Jamrat area to give medical assistance to pilgrims.

Makkah was once again flodded with pilgrims after two quiet days as thousands of Hajis moved to the holy city for farewell circumambulation.

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