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Sat 27 Oct 2012 12:05 PM

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Hajj pilgrims total 3.1m, says Saudi Arabia

Official figures show 1.7m came from overseas to take part in annual pilgrimage

Hajj pilgrims total 3.1m, says Saudi Arabia
Muslim pilgrims perform the noon prayer outside the Namera mosque in the plain of Arafat on the outskirts of the holy city of Makkah as part of the annual hajj. (Getty Images)

More than three million pilgrims visited Saudi Arabia during this year's hajj, according to figures released by the Central Department of Statistics and Information.

The Gulf kingdom said a total of 3,161,573 took part in the annual pilgrimage, with 1.4 million from Saudi Arabia and the majority (1.7 million) visiting from overseas. The total was up eight percent on last year.

Major General Mansour Al-Turki, security spokesman of the Ministry of Interior, said the number of security forces taking part in the service of pilgrims amounted to more than 100,000.

Saudi Arabia said it saw an increase in train usage by pilgrims this year. Trains were scheduled to transport some 500,000 pilgrims but the rate increased to 50 percent of the total number of pilgrims, an official said in comments published by Saudi Press Agency.

Saud Al-Zikry, a spokesman for the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, said train station controllers were forced to meet the increase by extending operating hours.

Dr Khalid Marghalani, of the Ministry of Health, said 178,484 pilgrim patients visited medical facilities in the holy city during hajj.

He said five women have given birth during Hajj at Mina (three), Arafat and Alnoor (Makkah).

Separately, Saudi Press Agency reported that one pilgrim died and 15 others were injured as two buses transporting pilgrims collided.

According to the Saudi Red Crescent Authority, the injured pilgrims, who sustained minor to medium wounds, were taken to hospitals.

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