Death toll of Egyptian pilgrims in Mecca rises to 57

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Cairo, Sep 5 (IANS) Three more Egyptian pilgrims died during Haj in Saudi Arabia’s Mecca on Tuesday, raising the total death toll among Egyptian pilgrims to 57, said the Egyptian Health Ministry.

The head of Egypt’s medical Haj mission, Ahmed al-Ansary, has been coordinating with the Saudi authorities to issue death certificates for the dead pilgrims, Xinhua news agency reported.

The ages of the dead varied from 60 to 85, he said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia started on Wednesday the Haj pilgrimage of 2017, with the participation of more than two million pilgrims, including 1.8 million foreigners, according to the Saudi authorities.

Haj is one of the five pillars of Islam and one of the most important rituals for Muslims worldwide. Every Muslim must perform it at least once in a lifetime if affordable.

Saudi Arabia announced tight security during the Haj season as it banned over 400,000 illegal pilgrims from entering Mecca, the holiest city for Muslims, for not having Haj permits.

The government said it had taken serious steps, including fine and jail terms against violators, to ensure smooth Haj rituals for pilgrims.

–IANS

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