Cairo: Saudi transport authorities have urged private sector institutions involved in the annual Hajj pilgrimage to initiate early security measures for the upcoming season.
The instructions to transport agencies primarily focus on the carrying any explosive substances. A strict prohibition on the use of such substances in Mecca and Medina has been mandated for a month-long period, spanning from the 20th of Dhul Qadah to the 20th of Dhul Hajjah, coinciding with the Hajj season, Saudi news website Akhbar24 said.
Additional security measures include field inspections by security agencies of projects utilising explosives in Mecca, Medina, and other holy places leading up to the Hajj to ensure safety.
As part of the security measures leading up to the Hajj, the Saudi Ministry of Defence will deploy explosives disposal experts at the kingdom’s air, sea, and land entry points starting from the first of Dhul Qadah, more than a month before the pilgrimage rites commence until the last group of pilgrims is allowed into the country.
Furthermore, Saudi customs authorities will intensify the inspection of arriving pilgrims and confiscate any prohibited materials they may carry.
Saudi Arabia has initiated early preparations for this year’s Hajj scheduled for June, employing a new strategy and launching associated operations earlier this month.
Approximately 2 million pilgrims from around the world performed Hajj last year, marking a return to pre-pandemic levels.
The Kingdom has already established rules for this year’s Hajj, with no specific places being allotted for countries at the holy sites.
Instead, designations for different countries will depend on finalising contracts, giving priority to those who conclude early agreements, according to Saudi Ministry of Hajj Tawfiq Al Rabiah.
Hajj visa issuance is set to commence on March 1 and conclude on the 20th of Shawwal, corresponding to April 29 in the Islamic calendar. The arrival of Hajj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia is scheduled to begin on the first day of Dhul Qadah, corresponding to May 9. This new mechanism aims to streamline preparations for Hajj, an obligatory Islamic duty.