• 15:40
  • Friday ,03 October 2014
العربية

Fifteen Egyptian pilgrims die in Mecca: Official

By Aswat Masriya

Copts and Poliltical Islam

00:10

Friday ,03 October 2014

Fifteen Egyptian pilgrims die in Mecca: Official

Fifteen Egyptian pilgrims have died in Mecca as the annual Hajj pilgrimage begins in the holy Muslim city, according to an Egyptian health ministry official.

The most recent death was reported on Wednesday of a 56-year-old man who died of a severe hypertension, interior minister aide, Shaker El-Kayyal told state news agency MENA.

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims around the world travel to Saudi Arabia every year to perform Islam's annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, which officially starts on Thursday.

Dozens of pilgrims are reported dead every year, with many deaths taking place among the elderly, often due to fatigue or the stampede.

As one of the five major pillars of Islam, Hajj must be performed at least once in a lifetime by all Muslims who can afford the costly, difficult trip.

The Kingdom said last week it had received over a million pilgrims from overseas, according to the Saudi News Agency.

Nearly two million pilgrims performed Hajj in 2013, with roughly a third from inside Saudi Arabia.

Thursday is the first official day of the Hajj pilgrimage, with Muslims set to go through a set of rituals laid out by the Prophet Muhammed that culminate on Saturday with Eid Al-Adha (the Feast of the Sacrifice), Islam's biggest holiday