210722 Hajj
Pilgrims pray after participating in the symbolic stoning of the devil ritual during the Hajj pilgrimage in Mina, in a file photo. Image Credit: AP

Cairo: Saudi Arabia has banned gas cylinders at pilgrim camps as the country is finalising its preparations for next month’s Islamic pilgrimage Hajj season, local media said.

The kingdom’s civil defence authorities said the ban on entry and use of liquefied gas cylinders of different types and sizes at pilgrim camps and government agencies in the holy sites will take effect as of the first day of Dhu Al Hijjah, the last month on the Islamic calendar during which Hajj rites are undertaken. The climax of this year’s Hajj is anticipated on July 8 corresponding to the ninth of Dhu Al Hijjah.

The ban on gas cylinders is part of civil defence measures to ensure safety for pilgrims, who will include overseas pilgrims for the first time in around two years.

“The decision to ban entry and use of gas in holy sites will be enforced in coordination with security agencies,” the civil defence authorities said, adding that inspection tours will be carried out to ensure compliance. Gas stoves will be confiscated and legal procedures will be taken against offenders.

Saudi Arabia has said it will allow 1 million pilgrims from inside and outside the kingdom to perform this year’s Hajj, after restricting the annual ritual to some thousands of Muslims living inside the country for the last two years due to the pandemic.

About 2.5 million Muslims from around the world used to attend Hajj in Saudi Arabia every year before the pandemic.