Sunday, 16 December 2007
By Adel Al-Malki and Abdullah Al-Hariri
MINA - Prince Naif Bin Abdul Aziz, Interior Minister and President of the Supreme Haj Committee, Saturday toured the holy sites to review the Haj preparations.
During the military show at the Emergency Forces Camp in Arafat, Prince Naif was briefed on the preparations, services, facilities and human resources provided by the relevant sectors to serve pilgrims. An estimated 50,000 security personnel are expected to be deployed during this Haj.
Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Emir of Makkah Region and Chairman of the Central Haj Committee, as well as a number of ministers and officials attended the show and accompanied Prince Naif during the tour.
Director of Public Security Lt. General Saeed Bin Abdullah Al-Qahtani ensured that all government and security sectors were ready to serve pilgrims.
"Establishing a specialist security force for Haj is a proof that Saudi Arabia is taking care of pilgrims," he said.
More than 12 security sectors have completed their preparations to serve the Guests of Allah.
The Specialist Security Forces will participate for the first time in this year's Haj along with other sectors including Civil Defense, Emergency Forces, Special Security Forces, Traffic Police and Road Security.
After the military show, Prince Naif toured the new projects in Makkah and the holy sites.
He inspected the SR4 billion four-phase Jamarat Bridge Project.
Prince Naif also toured Jabel Al-Rahmah Hospital built at a cost of more than SR 44 million.
Earlier in a statement, Al-Qahtani urged pilgrims not to block pedestrian crossings. He also asked them to refrain from using traditional or plastic tents in Mina.
The government has installed fireproof tents in the Mina valley after some fire incidents in the past.
But those pilgrims who stay in Mina without making any prior accommodation arrangement through Haj operators put up their own tents on pedestrian walkways and hilltops, posing fire risk.
Al-Qahtani reiterated the importance of abiding by regulations and guidelines aimed at ensuring the safety of pilgrims.
Meanwhile, Minister of Health Dr. Hamad Bin Abdullah Al-Manei said that more than 1.1 million pilgrims, who have arrived in the Kingdom through the King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, were free from any contagious diseases.
In a press statement after an inspection tour to the airport Friday, the minister said about 55 medical teams were working at 18 terminals of the airport to revise the vaccination certificates or to provide the pilgrims with required vaccinations in line with the health conditions approved by the Agency of the Preventive Medicine.
Primary health care center at the airport has been working round-the-clock to extend the required medical services to the pilgrims.
Dr Al-Manei highlighted the efforts of the medical teams accompanying the Haj missions and the adherence of the pilgrims to the preventive health conditions.
The minister inspected a number of health facilities along the Madina-Jeddah highway as well as some hospitals including the King Abdul Aziz and King Fahd hospitals and the tumor center.
So far 1,643308 pilgrims have arrived, of which 6,2788 arrived at the King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah.