Fire extinguished at Makkah hotel

Another blaze was reported at a hotel in the holy city in May



Civil defence teams in the holy city of Makkah on Monday extinguished a fire at a 19-storey hotel in the holy city on Monday.

The blaze started during a particularly busy period, with Hajj season now well underway and 416,086 pilgrims having arrived on flights so far.

Read: First pilgrims-only flight from Indonesia arrives in Saudi as Hajj season begins

State-run Saudi Press Agency reported that the blaze was started by an air conditioning unit in a room on the 10th floor of the building on Ibrahim Street Hebron.

The building, which is housing pilgrims of Bangladeshi nationality, was evacuated and the fire was extinguished without any injuries, General Department of Civil Defence spokesperson major Nayed Al-Sharif said.

Investigators are now determining the cause of the incident.

Another fire at a hotel – located at Ibrahim Al-Khalil Street – was extinguished in May. All the 600 Turkish and Yemeni pilgirms who were at the hotel were evacuated.

Read: Fire erupts in Makkah hotel

Authorities are currently enforcing strict entry procedures at the borders of Makkah to prevent overcrowding during the Hajj season.

The General Directorate of Passports said on Sunday anyone caught transporting unauthorised pilgrims would face fines, jail and even deportation.

Read: Saudi warns of severe punishments for illegally transporting Hajj pilgrims

The five-day Hajj ritual, expected to begin on August 19, is a once-in-a-lifetime religious duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it. Pilgrims retrace the route Prophet Mohammad took 14 centuries ago in what is the largest annual gathering of Muslims.

Read: Muslims begin annual hajj pilgrimage in Makkah

The 2017 Hajj season saw more than 2.35 million pilgrims converge on Makkah including 1.75 million from outside Saudi Arabia.

Read: In pics: Hajj 2017 ends, more than 2.35m pilgrims take part