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'Utmost done for problem-free Haj'

A Saudi minister has said that one of the important priorities for Haj is security of the pilgrims and that the government has done the utmost to ensure there would be no problems.

world Updated: Dec 16, 2007 08:43 IST

A Saudi minister has said that one of the important priorities for Haj is security of the pilgrims and that the government has done the utmost to ensure there would be no problems.

"Saudi Arabia has mobilised all the needed security and municipality forces for a smooth Haj, so hopefully we will not see any problems," the Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, who heads the hajj supreme committee told reporters.

Officials yesterday said that by Friday more than 1.6 million Muslims have arrived in Saudi Arabia for the annual Muslim Haj in Mecca.

Earlier he inspected a parade which involved selected units from the commando, anti-terrorism, anti-riot, bombs removal, sniper, rapid intervention and crowd management units of the Saudi security forces.

Water canon trucks, light armored personnel carriers, emergency rescue helicopters, ambulances and dinghies were also displayed.

"The Iranian President (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) will perform hajj on an official invitation from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques (King Abdullah)," he responded to a question about a visit by the Ahmadinejad to perform the hajj in Saudi Arabia.

It is the first time a president of the Islamic republic is to attend the annual Muslim pilgrimage.

He added that, "There will be no special security measures (regarding his safety) for him.