Spread the love

Pilgrims dead in Mecca: Egypt sanctions travel agencies for "fraud" (government)

The Egyptian authorities ordered Saturday the revocation of the licenses of 16 tourist companies and the referral of their managers to the public prosecutor's office for “fraud”, after having made traveling pilgrims illegally to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

Egyptian Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouli “ordered to withdraw the licenses of these companies, to refer their managers to the public prosecutor and to impose a fine on them for the benefit of the families of the pilgrims who died because of them “, his office said in a press release.

The decision comes after hundreds of pilgrims died during the major Muslim pilgrimage held in Saudi Arabia in scorching heat, more than half of whom did not have permits for the annual gathering.

A count established by AFP on Friday, based on official statements and information provided by diplomats, puts the death toll at more than 1,100, more than half of whom came from Egypt.

Every year, tens of thousands of faithful try to participate in the pilgrimage without the necessary permits, which are paid for and granted according to quotas, and which give access in particular to air-conditioned facilities.

A senior Saudi official on Friday defended the kingdom's management of the hajj pilgrimage, which has officially ended Wednesday.

“The State did not fail, but there was an error of judgment on the part of people who did not measure the risks incurred,” this official told AFP.

“This happened against a backdrop of difficult weather conditions and very severe temperatures,” he added.

At the beginning of June, Saudi Arabia announced that its forces had pushed back more than 300,000 unregistered pilgrims from Mecca, including 153,998 foreigners who entered the kingdom on tourist visas, without going through official channels.

It seems, however, that a large number of unauthorized pilgrims managed to participate in the rituals which took place over several days, in particularly trying conditions.

The hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and every Muslim who can afford it must do it at least once in their life.< /p>

Permits to participate in the hajj are allocated to countries according to a quota system.

Even for those who can obtain them , the high costs make the irregular route – which costs thousands of dollars less – more attractive.

“We can estimate the number of unregistered pilgrims at around 400,000 “, the Saudi official said Friday.

“Most of them are of the same nationality,” the official added, likely referring to the Egypt. Arab diplomats told AFP earlier this week that Egypt had 658 dead, including 630 unregistered pilgrims.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116