The first batch of pilgrims from Holland, guests of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz, has arrived at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah. More than one thousand pilgrims, of 35 nationalities, are expected to perform Hajj this year as King Fahd’s guests.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Pilgrimage has clarified the situation of pilgrims from Iraq, issuing a statement today that the Saudi Embassy in Kuwait had by January 22, 2004 issued over 25,000 visas to Iraqi pilgrims, and that about 16,000 Iraqis had to date arrived at Jeddah’s airport. He noted that this year’s quota from Iraq is 33,000, with the agreement being that only 4,000 of these would come by land, and the rest by air, via Kuwait. But by yesterday, the last day for entry by land, more than 14,000 Iraqi pilgrims had arrived at the Jadidah-Arar border point, contrary to that agreement.