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High-tech ID e-bracelets for pilgrims.

HI-TECH electronic bracelets that will contain details of pilgrims will be distributed to Bahrainis planning to cross the border for the Haj season.

The scheme is part of increased efforts to strengthen security as millions of pilgrims will descend on Mecca next month.

It also aims to clamp down on rogue agencies, which take thousands of people for the annual pilgrimage without clearing legal documents with Saudi Arabia.

Bahrain's Haj delegation chief and Sharia Cassation Court Judge Shaikh Adnan Abdulla Al Qattan said 57 Haj caravans have been allocated for Bahraini pilgrims and seven for expatriates.

"Saudi authorities will supply all pilgrims with special hi-tech ID electronic bracelets featuring all their data," he said in a statement to Bahrain News Agency.

"Tough security measures would be enforced at all Saudi entry points to clamp down on illegal agencies, (despite) most of them being compliant and committed to the rules and regulations.

"(The Bahrain) follow-up and evaluation committee will head to Saudi Arabia within 10 days to assess Bahrain pilgrims' accommodation."

He also confirmed that the official Haj quota for pilgrims from Bahrain remained unchanged this year at 3,700.

Over the past three years, Bahrain and other countries have had to abide by a set quota of pilgrims as expansion works were underway at the Holy Mosque.


Meanwhile, Haj Medical Mission co-ordination committee chairman Dr Ibrahim Obeid dismissed security concerns raised by pilgrims following the death of four people when a suicide bomber targeted security forces outside the Prophet's Mosque in Medina on July 4.

"We have trust in the Saudi security system, which we are sure will ensure all needed safety and security for the pilgrims," he told the GDN.

"Apart from this, we have four security men with the medical mission to tackle any emergency or urgent situation.

"There could be fear among pilgrims, following the volatile situation in Saudi during the year, which we could overcome by educating them.

"We see more border security especially at the entries to Mecca and each year there is an increase in the number of policemen inside Mecca."

The GDN previously reported that the numbers of Bahraini tourists visiting Saudi Arabia have decreased by 50 per cent in the last nine months due to a series of terror attacks targeting mosques.

It started last May when a suicide bomber attacked Imam Ali Mosque in Al Qadeeh, Qatif, killing at least 21 people and injuring 80.

Another suicide bomber targeted Friday prayers near a Shi'ite mosque in Dammam, resulting in four casualties.

A bombing in January targeted Al Reda Mosque in Al Mahasen district of Al Ahsa Governorate, killing four people and injuring 18.

The Islamic State, also known as Daesh, claimed responsibility for the first two attacks, while the January 29 bomber was identified as Saudi Abdulrahman Al Tuwaijiri, 22. A second attacker, who failed to detonate a suicide bomb belt, has been identified as Egyptian national Talha Hesham Abdo.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Geographic Code:7BAHR
Date:Jul 30, 2016
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