Egypt cancels the licenses of Hajj tourism companies due to illegal Hajj amid reports of hundreds of deaths

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Muslim pilgrims arrive to perform the symbolic “stoning of the devil” ritual as part of the Hajj in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.



CNN

the Egyptian government 16 licenses will be cancelled Hajj tourism Companies involved in the illegal Hajj to Mecca and referring company managers to the Public Prosecutor amid fears of the death of hundreds of Egyptians during this year’s Hajj season.

The decision was made at a Cabinet meeting on Saturday after a report highlighted the questionable nature of how some tourism companies operate.

The official number among Egyptians is 31, but Reuters news agency and other media reported that as many as 500 to 600 Egyptians died during the Hajj. CNN statistics indicate that the total death toll during the Hajj season reaches nearly 500 people, but this number is likely to rise.

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Muslim pilgrims perform the Farewell Tawaf, or “tawaf,” going seven times around the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca.

The report, which was reviewed by the Cabinet, said some operators were not issued valid visas, so their holders were unable to enter the holy city of Mecca, and were instead forced to enter “through desert passes on foot.” Some companies were also accused of failing to provide suitable accommodation, leaving tourists exposed to the heat.

During the meeting, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly expressed his “sincere condolences and sympathy” to the families of the deceased pilgrims, and was committed to providing them with the necessary support.

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Hajj permits are allocated to countries according to a quota system, and Saudi Arabia requires each pilgrim to obtain one of 1.8 million permits available to legally access Mecca.

But since the cost of one such permit costs several thousand US dollars, many pilgrims attempt to reach the site illegally and do not usually travel in organized, air-conditioned tour buses or have easy access to water and food supplies.

The Hajj is timed according to the Islamic lunar calendar, which this year fell during scorching temperatures in Saudi Arabia. The pilgrims made the journey this year in extreme temperatures reaching 49 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit).

Ahmed, a 44-year-old from Indonesia, told CNN that he saw many people getting sick and even dying from the heat.

“All the way home, I saw many pilgrims who had died. About every few hundred metres, there was a dead body lying covered in a blanket.” [white fabric] fabric.”

“Every time there is water distribution from locals or certain groups, they are immediately swarmed by pilgrims,” he added, saying he did not see health workers or a single ambulance along the route.

As part of the Hajj, believers perform a series of rituals in and around the holy city of Mecca, often including walking for long hours in scorching temperatures every day.

The exact death toll for the total number of deaths in this year’s Hajj season is still unclear, and the number is expected to rise as each country independently announces the deaths of its citizens.

In addition, governments are only aware of pilgrims who have registered and traveled to Mecca as part of their country’s quota – and more deaths are feared among unregistered pilgrims.

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