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6 Dec, 2008 05:02

Three million Muslims gather in Mecca for Hajj

Almost three million Muslim pilgrims from around the world have gathered in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia to perform the annual Hajj. The country's authorities have deployed up to 100,000 security personnel to keep order during the five-day event

Being in Mecca at least once in a lifetime is considered a duty for every Muslim.

Some have travelled thousands of miles, regardless of poor health. The believers will take part in centuries-old rites to express solidarity with all Muslims.

For them, standing in long queues is no obstacle on the way to performing the duty of the faithful.

Saudi Arabian authorities are taking special measures in freeing up space around the holy site.

Record numbers of foreigners are expected to add to the crowd's size, with more than a million visas given out worldwide.