Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba at the Grand mosque in Mecca. Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba at the Grand mosque in Mecca. Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah

311 African pilgrims arrive to Cairo Airport to travel for Hajj

Wed, Aug. 8, 2018
CAIRO – 8 August 2018: Cairo International Airport witnessed on Tuesday the arrival of 311 African pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia on EgyptAir to perform Hajj.

Public relations teams of EgyptAir were dedicated to end the flight measures for African pilgrims and provide them with services, according to a source at the airport.

In the same context, 352 Palestinians have arrived to Cairo Airport’s seasonal hall to travel to Saudi Arabia and perform Hajj.

Cairo International Airport will operate on Wednesday 24 flights to transfer 5400 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, of which 13 flights will be operated to Jeddah until August 12 for the travel of 3,321 Palestinian pilgrims.

Additionally, EgyptAir operated 17 flights on Saturday to carry 3,675 Egyptian Muslims to Saudi Arabia's Mecca for performing the pilgrimage ritual (Hajj) which is due to start in the third week of August.

Nine flights were scheduled to fly from Cairo and SharmEl-Sheikh to Jeddah, while eight others were set to leave for Medina, stated MENA news agency on Saturday.

It is scheduled that a total of 325 flights will carry 62,000 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, including pilgrims from Mali and Palestine for the 2018 Hajj season.

EgyptAir began operating flights of pilgrims from South and North Sinai to Jeddah as of Wednesday. The first flight to Medina took off Thursday, carrying pilgrims from Giza and Port Said, according to the chairman of EgyptAir.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ordered opening the Rafah Border Crossing in order to ease the travelling procedures for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip seeking to travel to Mecca for Hajj.

The president ordered opening the gates on Saturday, August 4 until Tuesday, August 7.

Three thousand Palestinians were able to pass through the border in Rafah and reach Cairo International Airport to travel to Saudi Arabia and perform the upcoming Hajj Pilgrimage in Mecca and Medina.

This step was taken by the Egyptian side in order to support residents of the Gaza strip.
The hajj, a five-day ritual which retraces the journey of Prophet Mohammad that took place 14 centuries ago, is a religious duty that should be carried out once in a lifetime for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it.

It is the world's largest annual Muslim gathering, with over 2.3 million people attending this year. The faithful come from nearly every country in the world, speaking dozens of languages and sometimes practicing Islam in different ways based on local customs or traditions.

Millions of Muslims from around the world travel to Mecca every year. Saudi authorities said more than 2 million Muslims participated in 2017’s hajj season.

Additional report by Rehab Ismail
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