Creating new perspectives since 2009

Saudi Arabia to host 1,000 pilgrims from families of Gaza martyrs and wounded 

June 11, 2024 at 1:31 pm

Thousands of Muslim pilgrims perform Friday prayer around Kaaba at Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on June 07, 2024 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Saudi Arabia is to host 1,000 pilgrims who are family members of the martyrs and wounded in the Gaza Strip as an exceptional measure of this year’s Hajj season. The order for this was given by King Salman Bin Abdulaziz in a royal decree, the official Saudi News Agency has reported.

The move brings the total number of hosted pilgrims from Palestine to 2,000 within the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Guests Programme for Hajj, Umrah and Visits, implemented by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance.

“The ministry has been preparing to receive the guests of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques from the martyrs’ families and the injured in Palestine and has developed a plan for this purpose through several committees tasked with caring for them and enabling them to perform Hajj with ease and convenience,” explained the Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, Abdullatif Bin Abdulaziz Al-Sheikh.

On Saturday, convoys of Palestinian pilgrims from the occupied West Bank arrived in Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj pilgrimage. Israel has effectively blocked pilgrims from leaving Gaza to perform this religious duty, because the occupation state has closed the Rafah Crossing into Egypt. The Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs in Gaza denounced Israel for this on 22 May.

The Israeli army took control of the border crossing in Rafah on 7 May, since when it has been closed not only to pilgrims heading for Saudi Arabia, but also to patients seeking essential treatment abroad, as well as the entry of urgently-needed humanitarian aid.

READ: Killing of Gaza civilians as Israel freed hostages could be war crimes, UN says