Security Chief vows to protect Hajj from any breaches – Saudi Gazette

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Saudi Gazette report

MAKKAH — Director of Public Security and Chairman of the Hajj Security Committee Lt. Gen. Mohammed Al-Bassami emphasized that the security of the nation, pilgrims, and holy sites is a red line.

“Hajj security forces will stand firmly against any actions that compromise safety or order and prevent any activities that could affect the security and safety of the pilgrims,” Al-Bassami said.

Al-Bassami made his remarks during a press conference on Saturday for the leaders of the Hajj security forces for 2024 at the Unified Security Operations Center (911) in Makkah.

The conference covered the ministry’s security, traffic, and organizational plans for this year’s Hajj season. Present were General Al-Bassami, Commander of the Special Emergency Forces at the Presidency of State Security Major General Mohammed Al-Omari, Commander of Civil Defense Forces for Hajj Major General Dr. Humoud Al-Faraj, Commander of General Aviation Security Major General Pilot Abdulaziz Al-Duraijan, and Commander of Passports Forces for Hajj Major General Dr. Saleh Al-Murabba.

Al-Bassami highlighted that one of the top priorities of the Hajj security forces is to ensure the safety and security of the pilgrims during their rituals across the holy sites, from their arrival until their safe departure.

“To achieve this, unauthorized individuals without a Hajj permit will be barred from entering the holy sites through security cordons at the entrances to Makkah and the sacred sites,” he said.

General Al-Bassami stated that security agencies across the Kingdom are monitoring misleading advertisements aimed at defrauding potential pilgrims through unauthorized Hajj offices or claims of performing Hajj on behalf of others. “Those found will be apprehended and referred to the appropriate authorities for legal action. Security forces will also arrest those transporting individuals without official Hajj permits and hand them over to the seasonal administrative committees at the General Directorate of Passports for the application of penalties.”

He noted that this year, the Hajj security forces will intensify field presence to quickly detect and respond to all security incidents and concerns. “Preventive measures will be taken to prevent crimes, combat pickpocketing, and any negative phenomena affecting the safety of pilgrims.”

He added: “The principle of prevention and safety will be applied to manage the flow of pilgrims within the Grand Mosque, the central area, and the holy sites, balancing traffic at security checkpoints at the entrances to Makkah and the holy sites and ensuring smooth traffic flow.”

Al-Bassami mentioned that during the past period, security forces have arrested the organizers of 140 fake Hajj campaigns and 64 violators of Hajj regulations, returning 97,664 unauthorized vehicles and 171,587 non-residents of Makkah, as well as 4,032 violators of Hajj regulations (Hajj without a permit) and 6,105 violators of residency and labor regulations.

Major General Mohammed Al-Omari, Commander of the Special Emergency Forces at the Presidency of State Security, stated that his forces are working to maintain security and order in Makkah, Madinah, and the holy capital, providing protection to the Kingdom’s guests and preventing violators from reaching the holy sites, managing crowd movements, and organizing the stoning ritual according to security plans.

Major General Pilot Abdulaziz Al-Duraijan, Commander of General Aviation Security, highlighted that aviation security is conducting reconnaissance flights to ensure smooth traffic flow for pilgrims and the safety of roads leading to the holy sites from unauthorized individuals. They also support security sectors in their tasks and provide humanitarian services, including medical evacuation, rescue, and firefighting operations.

Major General Dr. Hamoud Al-Faraj, Commander of Civil Defense Forces for Hajj, emphasized that his forces are intensifying preventive supervision in the holy capital, the holy sites, and Madinah, implementing and enforcing preventive and educational aspects, operational aspects, and humanitarian services. They manage situations through the holy sites operations center, activate volunteer roles, support the holy mosque, and collaborate with government agencies to handle emergencies according to the general emergency plan using modern and AI technologies.

Major General Dr. Saleh Al-Murabba, Commander of Passports Forces for Hajj, confirmed that the General Directorate of Passports continues to provide services to pilgrims through air, land, and sea ports using mobile devices, security documentation cameras, document verification devices, instant translation devices, and smart paths. They support and assist all participating agencies in the Hajj season at the holy sites, believing in the importance of integrated work among all participants in the Hajj season. He pointed out that over 1.3 million pilgrims have arrived from abroad through all ports.

Major General Al-Murabba emphasized that the seasonal administrative committees at the General Directorate of Passports will enforce penalties on those transporting unauthorized pilgrims, including imprisonment for up to 6 months and a fine of up to SR50,000 for each violator transported without a Hajj permit, with fines increasing based on the number of violators. If the transporter is a non-Saudi, they will be deported after serving the sentence and banned from entering the Kingdom for a specified period, with their vehicle confiscated by court order.

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