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Saudi Arabia: 2M in Mecca for Hajj     10/02 06:40

   MECCA, Saudi Arabia (AP) -- An estimated 2 million Muslims are streaming 
into a sprawling tent city near Mecca for the start of the annual Islamic hajj 
pilgrimage. Saudi Arabia says there are 1.4 million visitors to the kingdom for 
the hajj.

   The pilgrims are heading on Thursday to Mina, about five kilometers (three 
miles) from Mecca, where they will spend the night in prayer and supplication.

   The hajj, a central pillar of Islam, lasts about five days.

   Missing from this year's hajj are pilgrims from the countries hardest-hit by 
the Ebola virus.

   Saudi Arabia banned hajj and work visas this year for people from Sierra 
Leone, Liberia and Guinea as a precaution to avoid the spread of Ebola during 
hajj, which sees massive crowds of people from around the world gather in Mecca.


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