Illustrative image. Image Credit: Supplied

Cairo: Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation authorities have ordered a ban on passengers departing on flights from placing holy Zamzam water bottles inside their luggage, the Saudi news agency SPA has reported. Passengers can still take the water in their carry on baggage.

The Saudi General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) has issued a circular to all airlines operating in the kingdom including private carriers not to allow travellers departing from the Saudi airports to place Zamzam bottles into their luggage, SPA added.

“Non-compliance with the GACA circulars are considered a clear violation of the government orders and legal measures will be taken against the violator who will be held accountable for the result,” the agency said without further details.

No specific reason was given for the ban.

Many foreign Muslims, visiting Saudi Arabia for performing umrah (lesser pilgrimage) or Hajj usually carry Zamzam packages on departing from the kingdom to present as gifts to their relatives and friends in the homeland.

The ban comes less than two months before the annual Muslim pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam.

This year’s Hajj will be attended by overseas Muslims for the first time in about two years after the obligatory Islamic duty was limited to Muslims residing inside Saudi Arabia due to coronavirus-related restrictions.