In Riyadh, 1.5 million Muslims perform Hajj at Mount Arafat

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Riyadh: More than In Riyadh, 1.5 million Muslims perform Hajj at Mount Arafat on Saturday for the most important part of the annual Haj pilgrimage. They prayed for hours, especially for Palestinians in conflict-torn Gaza.

Wearing white robes, worshippers began arriving at dawn for the challenging rituals of the day, climbing the rocky, 70-meter hill where Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) delivered his final sermon.

“This day is crucial,” said 46-year-old Egyptian Mohammed Asser, who had prepared a list of prayers. “I also pray for the Palestinians. May God assist them.”

This year’s Haj takes place against the backdrop of ongoing conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, sparked by an unprecedented attack by Hamas on southern Israel on October 7.

The attack resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to figures from Israeli authorities.

Israel's military response and airstrikes in Gaza have claimed the lives of at least 37,266 people, mostly civilians, according to Gaza's health ministry.

Saudi Arabia’s minister responsible for religious pilgrimages, Tawfiq al-Rabiah, warned last week that no political activities would be tolerated during Haj.

However, at least one pilgrim still voiced support for Palestinians enduring months of continuous bombardment.

“Pray for our brothers in Gaza and Palestine... may God grant victory to the Muslims,” he declared.

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