RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Aug 26 – Saudi Arabia is expected to receive more than 1.3 million foreign pilgrims this Hajj season, with majority from south Asian countries, Arab News reported on Tuesday.
According to the Hajj Ministry, South Asian countries will send the largest contingent of 410,000 pilgrims, followed by Arab countries with 250,000. About 228,000 pilgrims will come from south-east Asian countries, including Indonesia and Malaysia, while Turkey and European countries will have 190,000, non-Arab African countries 170,000 and Iran 63,000.
Meanwhile, there will be 150,000 domestic pilgrims to take part in the Hajj rituals this year, including expatriates who live in Saudi Arabia, Saad Al-Qurashi, a member of the National Hajj & Umrah Committee, said.
The foreign pilgrims won’t include those from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, as Saudi Arabia announced in Apr, a Hajj ban on them, to avoid the transmission of Ebola virus.
Saudi Arabia continues for the second year to reduce the number of foreign pilgrims by 20 percent and domestic pilgrims by 50 percent, because of expansion operations at the grand mosque in Mecca.– NNN-SPA