Saudi pilgrims slashed by half for Hajj

Riyadh, July 31 (IANS) Saudi Arabia announced that only 104,000 domestic pilgrims will be permitted to perform Hajj this year and the number of foreign pilgrims will be cut by 20 percent, reports Xinhua.

As many as 208,000 Saudi pilgrims preformed Hajj last year, Al Riyadh newspaper reported Wednesday.

The the number will be slashed by half to reduce congestion at the Grand Mosque due to ongoing extension works, Undersecretary of Hajj Ministry for Pilgrim Affairs Abdulrahman Al Nufiai told the newspaper.

He said there were 248 companies that were registered to provide services to the domestic pilgrims and they could accommodate around 377,500 pilgrims.

Saudi Arabia announced in June a decision to reduce the number of foreign pilgrims by 20 percent and domestic pilgrims by 50 percent this year.

Officially, 3.1 million pilgrims preformed Hajj last year. Inclusive of illegal Hajj performers, the number could be around 4 million.


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