Pilgrims scale Mount Arafat for peak of Hajj

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Pilgrims scale Mount Arafat for peak of Hajj

About two million pilgrims from all over the world are now on the plains of Mount Arafat, observing the most important rite in Islamic Hajj pilgrimage.

Nada and Fida, two sisters from Syria, said they had dedicated their prayers to their home country, where more than 330,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since its civil war broke out in 2011.

On Friday, they will move on to Mina before sunrise for the hajj ritual of the symbolic "Stoning of the Devil".

She said: "I came here to Arafat to pray for my family, for my daughter, and my son, and all my family, and all the Philippines Muslims, and all Muslims in all countries".

Responding to reports that Ghanaian pilgrims are out on the streets, the Deputy Communications Director for the Hajj Board, Hajia Marian Cissey, blamed the Saudi authorities for the situation in a Citi News interview.

But thousands who would normally make the journey from neighbouring Qatar are absent apart from a few dozen because of a diplomatic crisis shaking the Gulf.

Helicopters flew around the area as the pilgrims converged from dawn on the Mount Arafat plain and the hill known as Jabal al-Rahma, or Mount of Mercy.

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Pilgrims scale Mount Arafat for peak of Hajj

This year, the first day of the pilgrimage began on August 30 and ends on September 4.

The pilgrims moved from Makkah to Mina on Wednesday, I went to Arafat this day very easily and all government agencies entrusted with the task of serving these holy lands did everything within their capacities, honesty and loyalty.

Saudi Arabia's Red Crescent said it had deployed 326 ambulances along the pilgrimage route to handle health emergencies.

Tehran reported the largest number of stampede victims, with 464 Iranians among the dead. "That is the explanation the Saudi authorities have given to us and said every country must adjust to the present condition".

In a solemn gathering, tears flow freely while prayers for protection and safe return back home filled the air as the 2332 pilgrims from Lagos state prepare for another important stage in the annual hajj rites in Saudi Arabia.

Over 100 million people embark on the religious pilgrimage every year.

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