Saudi security forces take part in a military parade as pilgrims arrive for the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca on June 10, 2024. Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: As preparations are in full swing for the annual Islamic Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, the Royal Ground Forces, represented by the military police, are offering security support for the kingdom’s Interior Ministry in maintaining order during the massive congregation starting Friday (tomorrow).

The military police are supporting the Internal Security Forces in managing crowds, regulating the pilgrim movement in the courtyards of the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site in Mecca, and monitoring its gates, the Saudi news agency SPA reported.

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In addition, a support unit is participating in removing lethal substances at land crossings and the sacred sites where Hajj rites take place.

Saudi Arabia has mobilised different agencies to ensure security for about 2 million who are expected to attend this year’s Hajj in and around Mecca.

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Several Saudi officials have stressed that the Hajj ‘s security is a “red line” that cannot be crossed and political slogans are banned during the religious gathering.

Authorities have, meanwhile, ramped up a clampdown on irregular pilgrims and announced catching thousands of foreign visitors attempting to perform the Hajj without an official permit.

Authorities have repeatedly said a visit visa does not qualify its holder to perform the Hajj and warned against fraudsters touting bogus Hajj tours.

Saudi forces have caught 140 fake Hajj campaigns and 64 transporters who violated Hajj regulations, a security official said earlier this week.

Chief of Public Security and head of the Hajj Security Committee Lt. Gen. Mohammed Al Bassami added that 97,664 unauthorised vehicles and 171,587 people who are not residents of Mecca have been returned and denied access to the city.