Hajj authorities in Saudi Arabia deported 95,400 illegal pilgrims who tried to enter Mecca without holding pilgrimage permits between the 20th of July and the 13th of August, Okaz newspaper reported on Tuesday.
According to the local daily, the pilgrims tried to enter the city through its land borders. They were stopped and sent back to checkpoints.
In a statement on the matter, head of Hajj security, Khaled Bin Qarar Al-Harbi said:
“We will not allow those who go against rules and regulations to disrupt this year’s Hajj season, and anyone who is found to have entered the city without a permit will face strict punishment.
“All these rules have been put in place to ensure the safety of pilgrims,” he added.
Al-Harbi explained that security teams will be performing random fingerprint checks even inside the city’s holy site. This will be done to ensure that anyone who is going against the rules is caught.
The security chief also urged nationals, expats, and pilgrims to abide by regulations implemented by authorities.
In an announcement made by Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry earlier this week, officials said expat pilgrims who are caught trying to perform Hajj illegally in Mecca, will not only face deportation but will also be banned from entering the country for up to 10 years.
According to Arab News “all pilgrims are required to hold a permit allowing them to perform Hajj before they are allowed” to enter Mecca.
All Hajj regulations are strictly enforced by authorities since it’s crucial for them to keep track of the number of pilgrims entering the city.
Without such tracking, medical, logistic, and security teams will not be able to secure the safety of millions of pilgrims.