Tourism companies encouraged pilgrims to violate Hajj regulations says Saudi Interior Ministry official

RIYADH: Tourism companies around the world deceived foreign visitors to Saudi Arabia by issuing visas not intended for Hajj, while encouraging them to violate regulations by staying in Makkah two months before the pilgrimage, a Ministry of Interior spokesman said on Monday.


The security spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior Colonel Talal bin Abdul Mohsen bin Shalhoub said 1,301 people died during Hajj including 1,079 pilgrims who did not have Hajj permits. Those who died and were unauthorized to perform Hajj made up 83 percent of the total deaths.

In an interview with Al-Arabiya, the spokesman prayed that God have mercy on the deceased and grant comfort to their families.


He also highlighted the media and awareness campaigns that warned against performing Hajj without permits and the strict penalties faced by violators. He added that some individuals have been abusing visit visas and other non-Hajj visas.

He stressed that a Hajj permit is not merely a transit card but a crucial tool that facilitates access to pilgrims and identifies their locations to provide necessary care and services promptly. The absence of a permit poses challenges related to services and healthcare.


Al-Shalhoub said the General Directorate of Public Security’s official social media accounts had been continuously updated with warnings that those who promote fake Hajj campaigns would be arrested and referred to the Public Prosecution.


The official also expressed his appreciation for the strict measures taken by some countries against these deceptive companies and the corrective actions they have implemented to

prevent such violations in the future.


Al-Shalhoub confirmed the success of security plans for this year’s Hajj and said the success of the plans is evidence of the integrated efforts between security, military, and all government agencies concerned with Hajj to serve pilgrims and ensure their safety.

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