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Wednesday, 20 February, 2002, 17:33 GMT
Picture Gallery: Mecca pilgrimage
About two million Muslim pilgrims have begun the annual rites of the hajj.

The event began without incident, but tight security was in place, with the Saudi authorities warning that they would not tolerate any attempt to exploit the event for political purposes.

Pilgrims leave the grand mosque in Mecca to make the short journey to Mount Arafat
Pilgrims clamber on to buses to retrace Mohammad's steps from Mecca to Mina

Pilgrims talk on telephones in the holy city of Mecca
Devotees from more than 120 countries are taking part

Saudi men deliver sheep to the meat market in Riyadh
Sheep are delivered for the traditional slaughter at the end of the week

A Muslim pilgrim prays near the grand mosque, reflected in a window behind him
Muslims are supposed to make the journey to Mecca once in their lifetime

A pilgrim browses at a newspaper stand in Mecca
Correspondents say there is no public debate of the fall-out from 11 September

Thousands of Muslims gather at a mosque during evening prayer in Mecca
The biggest security headache is simply ensuring the safe flow of the pilgrims
See also:

20 Feb 02 | Middle East
Muslims mass for Hajj
15 Feb 02 | Middle East
Imams call for trouble-free Hajj
08 Feb 02 | Middle East
Eye-scanners installed for Hajj security
18 Feb 02 | South Asia
Afghan pilgrims get airlift for Hajj
13 Feb 02 | Middle East
40 die in Saudi Hajj crash
05 Mar 01 | Middle East
Hajj perils, ancient and modern
28 Feb 01 | Middle East
Pilgrims gather for Hajj
10 Feb 00 | Middle East
What is the Hajj?
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