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Sunday, 9 February, 2003, 15:00 GMT
In pictures: Muslims gather for Hajj
Two million Muslims have gathered on the sacred Plain of Arafat in Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj pilgrimage. They are praying for forgiveness at the hill where Muslims believe the last passage of the Koran was revealed to the prophet Mohammed 14 centuries ago.

Muslims gathering round the holy Kaaba at Mecca
Thousands of Muslims gather around the holy Kaaba of the Grand Mosque during evening prayer in the holy city of Mecca

Men in wearing special white clothes (called Ihram)
Men may not wear clothes with stitching during the Hajj which is part of being in a special state of ritual purity

A Saudi security man looks on from a roof top as Muslim pilgrims gather inside and outside the grounds of the holy Kaaba
Saudi Arabia has boosted security at the site vowing to use "an iron fist" if terrorists try to disrupt the event

Saudi interior minister Prince Naif Abdulaziz and security officers
Prince Naif Abdulaziz, Saudi interior minister, listens to security officers in Mecca

Saudi King Fahd
The frail King Fahd has travelled to Mecca for the Hajj this year

Women in Mecca
Pilgrims take the opportunity to shop in Mecca where there are numerous markets and arcades

See also:

10 Feb 00 | Middle East
07 Feb 03 | Middle East
13 Jan 03 | Health
16 Aug 02 | Health
24 Feb 02 | Middle East
09 Feb 02 | Middle East
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