“The Special Forces are in full readiness to implement the hajj security plan,” Special Security Forces chief Muhammad Al-Omani told Saudi Gazette Saturday, October 30.
Some 4,000 Special Forces officers will be deployed in the cities of Makkah and Madina during this year’s pilgrimage.
The squads, along with 385 military vehicles, will be located in special positions and will be tasked with certain operations to assure the security and safety of pilgrims.
“The plan sets out the tasks of the Special Forces in support operations for internal security sectors through pilgrim crowd control and any emergency missions ordered, as well as their main missions.”
Nearly three million Muslims are expected to embark on this year’s hajj, according to Saudi officials.
One of the five pillars of Islam, hajj attracts millions of Muslims from around the world who pour into Makkah every year to perform the ritual.
Hajj consists of several ceremonies, which are meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family.
Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform hajj at least once in a lifetime.
Saudi officials affirmed that the special forces squads have been readying to be able to face “anything that could happen” in this year’s pilgrimage.
“We have conducted numerous simulation exercises of various types in preparation for possible scenarios in hajj under conditions as close as possible to the real thing,” Al-Omani said.
“They have included anti-terrorism simulations, demonstrations, crowd dispersion, counter-explosives, and all other Special Forces-related scenarios.”
The special forces’ deployment crowns huge efforts performed by Riyadh to facilitate hajj and secure pilgrims' safety.
During this year’s hajj, which is start in mid November, millions of pilgrims will be able to use the first stage of the first monorail in Makkah, dubbed as the “Holy Rituals Train”.
It will link Makkah with the holy sites of Mina, `Arafah and Muzdalifah, which are visited by massive tides of pilgrims during the hajj.
The bridge has 10 entrances and 12 exits over its four levels to allow the flow of 300,000 pilgrims per hour.
It is also equipped with technology to help authorities intervene in case of any deadly stampedes during the stoning ritual.
Other projects were also performed to expand the area on top of the holy