Some 2,500 police officers and soldiers are currently providing security at the Grand Mosque in Makkah, the Arab News reported today.
“Security personnel will be increased during the last 10 days of Ramadan when the number of visitors and those coming to perform Umrah increases,” said Gen. Yusuf Hussein Matar, commander of the Grand Mosque Security Forces.
“The security plan this year is different from previous years because of the school vacation, which has led to an increase in the number of people inside the Grand Mosque,” he said.
The security plan includes ensuring smooth circumambulation around the Holy Ka’abah, entry and exit of people to and from the prayer complex, and clear passageways. It also involves organizing space in the courtyard outside and adopting measures to enable visitors to perform their duties in peace and comfort.
Gen. Matar said that in order to implement the security plan, the Grand Mosque Security Forces are working with other departments including the General Presidency of the Affairs of the Holy Mosque, the General Security, the Special Emergency Power of Makkah and the Haj Security Forces.
A major problem is that children frequently get lost in the mosque, he noted, adding that the authorities make sure the lost children are safe, circulate information about them so that they will be quickly reunited with their families. He encouraged families to equip their children with identifiers such as information bracelets in the event they go astray.
In related news, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz arrived in Makkah today, where they will spend the remainder of Ramadan.