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| 16 August, 2017

Over 350,000 pilgrims to avail Saudi Arabia's Mashaer train services

Muslim pilgrims alight from a bus as they head towards Mount Mercy on the plains of Arafat at the peak of the annual haj pilgrimage near the holy city of Mecca October 25, 2012. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Muslim pilgrims alight from a bus as they head towards Mount Mercy on the plains of Arafat at the peak of the annual haj pilgrimage near the holy city of Mecca October 25, 2012. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

The Mashaer train will transport more than 350,000 pilgrims between Makkah and the holy sites in seven days, Deputy Emir of Makkah Prince Abdullah Bin Bandar said.

16 August 2017
MAKKAH — The Mashaer train will transport more than 350,000 pilgrims between Makkah and the holy sites in seven days, Deputy Emir of Makkah Prince Abdullah Bin Bandar was told during an inspection visit to the project’s site on Monday.

The trains are scheduled to make about 1,000 trips

Prince Abdullah’s visit was aimed at reviewing the preparedness of all government and private sectors involved in the Haj services.

During the tour, the prince inspected the train’s control, operation and maintenance center, the storage facilities and the station No. 3 in Arafat.

He also visited several health facilities including the East of Arafat Hospital which has a capacity of 216 beds and a spacious intensive care unit, considered to be the largest in the holy sites.

Prince Abdullah visited a number of road projects and was briefed on the cleanliness of the holy sites which is being done by more than 12,000 cleaners working 24/7.

Meanwhile, about 1,600 Syrian pilgrims have arrived in Makkah coming from south Turkey.

By Aug. 26, as many as 15,800 Syrian pilgrims will be in the Kingdom coming from Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait.

Director of the office of the Syrian pilgrims’ affairs Samir Burqadar said his compatriot pilgrims started arriving in the Kingdom since July 27.

He said the pilgrims will be accommodated in 17 buildings in Makkah and in the central area around the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.

The first batch of pilgrims from Yemen arrived by land at the southern borders and were received with flowers, dates and Zamzam water.

Undersecretary of the Yemeni Ministry of Endowments, Mokhtar Al-Rabbash accused the Houthis of obstructing the travel of pilgrims to the Kingdom to perform the Haj.

He said the Houthi militias have confiscated travel documents of as many as 2,000 pilgrims to prevent them from going for pilgrimage.

“This has disrupted the schedule of arrival and also the grouping of pilgrims with the concerned Saudi authorities,” he said.

Rabbash said a total of 24,255 pilgrims from Yemen are expected to perform the Haj this year.

On the other hand, the Makkah municipality has prepared about 200,000 lighting units to illuminate Makkah and the holy sites during the entire Haj season.

Director of the municipality’s department of maintenance, Omar Babqi, said there will be 923 lighting towers in Mina at the height of 20-50 meters.

“Each tower will have between 4-12 lamps in addition to 350 distribution boards in the holy sites,” he added.

Babqi said the holy sites, Makkah gates, car parks and the roads leading to the holy city will be brightly illluminated.

Meanwhile, director general of the Passports Department (Jawazat) Maj. Gen. Sulaiman Al-Yaya said the reading passport and electronic gates will soon be introduced at all airports in the Kingdom.

He made the statement while inspecting the Jawazat counters at Prince Muhammad Bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Madinah. He said so far only two cases of passport forgeries were discovered in addition to 75 passports which were renewed by stickers inserted inside them.

He warned the pilgrims against committing such violations and asked them to renew their passports legally by issuing new documents containing the dates of issue and expiry.

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© The Saudi Gazette 2017