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Last Updated: Friday, 21 December 2007, 22:39 GMT
Saudi arrest of 'Hajj militants'
Hajj in Mecca
Between 2.5 million and 3 million people attended this year's Hajj
Saudi Arabia says it has arrested a group of men suspected of planning attacks on holy sites during the just concluded Hajj pilgrimage.

Few details were released but the sites in Mecca were not thought to be among the targets.

The men were arrested in several cities ahead of the Hajj season, sources said.

The Hajj has a history of disasters but this year had no major incidents. Every Muslim able to do so is expected to attend the Hajj once in their life.

Stampedes

Saudi interior ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki told the Associated Press news agency: "Security forces have foiled a plot to carry out a terror attack on holy sites outside Mecca.

"The group was arrested three days before the Hajj season."

Mr Turki called the suspects a "deviant group" - a term authorities often use to describe al-Qaeda.

Between 2.5 million and three million people attended this year's Hajj, which wound up on Friday.

One of the key participants was Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The Hajj has suffered a number of disasters, many from stampedes during the "stoning the devil" ritual.

At least 345 pilgrims were crushed last year and 251 in 2004.

SEE ALSO
In pictures: Last day of the Hajj
20 Dec 07 |  In Pictures
History of deaths on the Hajj
17 Dec 07 |  Middle East
Hajj Diary 3: Faith and strength
21 Dec 07 |  Middle East
Hajj Diary 2: Answered prayers
18 Dec 07 |  Middle East
Hajj Diary 1: Nervous anticipation
14 Dec 07 |  Middle East
What is the Hajj?
27 Dec 06 |  Middle East

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