Hajj 2017: Fire in Makkah hotel, over 600 pilgrims evacuated

Posted August 22, 2017

The meeting in Jiddah was the first by a Qatari royal in Saudi Arabia since a political standoff erupted 10 weeks ago when the kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar. However, King Salman announced on 16 August that they would be allowed to travel through Salwa border crossing without electronic permits or by any airline except Qatar Airways.

Saudi Airlines had asked Qatari authorities for permission for their flights to transport Qatari pilgrims, which were scheduled after mediation between Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Qatar's Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani.

He said that since the beginning of transportation of pilgrims to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on July 30, a significant progress had been achieved by the commission in many areas.

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"Comparing the previous years' statistics, the rate visa application of this year was much better".

"He further said: "Our relations with Saudi Arabia have never reached this level of crisis, so much so that the kingdom enacted a law that prevents even sympathy with the State of Qatar with fines and imprisonment".

Speaking at a news conference during his visit to Norway, Thani said Saudi authorities have not yet responded to queries from Qatar's Ministry of Islamic Affairs regarding the security of Qatari citizens during the Hajj rituals.

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On Thursday, Saudi reopened the blockaded land border with Qatar for pilgrims, in a move that Doha welcomed but saw as "politically motivated" as regional tensions simmer.

Saudi state media broke the news overnight. What do you think the reaction of ordinary Saudis will be when they hear this? The quartet also halted direct flights, expelled Qatari residents and the three Gulf countries ordered their citizens in Qatar to leave. It had not get them. This is a duty for the Saudi government.

"Over 27, 000 intending pilgrims have so far been transported to the Holy land", he said.

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The hajj pilgrimage is one of the five pillars of Islam; every Muslim who is able must make the trip to Mecca at least once in their life.