Saudi Gazette | 15 Dhul Qa’dah 1436/31 August 2015More than 200 doors of the Grand Mosque, including the King Abdulaziz Gate, will be thrown open to facilitate the movement of pilgrims as the Haj season peaks.

Abdullah Al-Tumaih, director of the department of doors at the Presidency of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, said doors near the King Abdulaziz Gate which have been closed to complete the third stage of the mataf expansion project would be open to facilitate the movement of pilgrims on the western side of the mosque.

Al-Tumaih said some of the closed doors would be opened from Sept. 4 and the rest when the work on the expansion project would be stopped for Haj.

He said qualified male and female employees would man all doors 24 hours a day to give directions to the pilgrims. People with special needs can use doors specifically designed for them.

Meanwhile, the General Syndicate of Cars has said it added 700 news buses to its existing fleet. It said around 18,000 buses will be deployed to transport pilgrims between Jeddah, Makkah and the holy sites.

Over 20 local transportation companies are responsible for operating the buses. In other Haj-related news, the Ministry of Health has deployed about 600 doctors, nurses and technicians at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah to provide medical aid to arriving pilgrims.

The ministry has set up a number of clinics at the Haj Terminal as well as the northern and southern terminals to vaccinate pilgrims and provide them with emergency aid if required.

Monitoring intensified

Security officers all over the Kingdom have been given instructions to strictly monitor the movement of domestic pilgrims from all regions of the country toward Makkah.

Maj. Gen. Saud Abdullah Al-Kheleiwi, assistant director of Public Security for Haj and Umrah, said the move was aimed at preventing bogus Haj service companies from exploiting pilgrims.

Several committees and subcommittees have been formed in all cities and governorates and surprise checkpoints will be set up at exit points on roads leading to Makkah, he said, adding that integrated security plans have been prepared to regulate pilgrims’ transport and arrest violators.

Al-Kheleiwi said the violators would face stiff penalties, including imprisonment and confiscation of vehicles used to transport pilgrims.

Syrian pilgrims

About 700 Syrians living in Egypt will be granted visas to perform Haj this year. Abdul Ilah Bin Khaddam Al-Faiz, consul at Saudi Embassy in Cairo, said the embassy will work non-stop to process visas for the Syrian pilgrims.

He said the pilgrims require a return ticket, a letter confirming accommodation in Makkah and the holy sites and certificates of vaccination in order to obtain a visa.

About 12,000 Syrians are expected to do Haj this year, coming from Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt.

Temperature to drop

Weather experts are expecting current temperatures of 44 degrees Celsius in Makkah, Madinah and the holy sites to drop a little during Haj.

Mahmoud Ghandoura, from the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment, said he expects the temperatures to drop to around 38 degrees Celsius during Haj.