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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

Saudi Arabia's King Salman invites families of troops killed in Yemen to Hajj

Preparations have been made to host hundreds of relatives of Yemeni and Sudanese fighters

Muslim pilgrims perform the farewell circling of the Kaaba, marking the end of Hajj pilgrimage in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Muslim pilgrims perform the farewell circling of the Kaaba, marking the end of Hajj pilgrimage in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

King Salman, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and ruler of Saudi Arabia, will sponsor Hajj for hundreds of Yemeni and Sudanese families related to soldiers killed in Yemen's war.

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs in Saudi Arabia said that King Salman will be paying for the full pilgrimage for 1,500 individuals this coming Hajj season.

Sheikh Dr Abdullatif bin Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, the Minister of Islamic Affairs, said the move reflects the king’s role as the custodian of the holy sites and his management of Mecca and Medina.

He said the move acknowledges the sacrifices made by Yemenis and Sudanese families to ensure the security of Yemen from Iran-backed Houthi militants.

The Yemeni families sponsored by the King will join the 25,000 Yemenis expected to perform Hajj this year.

The Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Dr Mohammed Saleh bin Taher Benten said preparations have already been made to ensure the families are provided for.

Saudi Arabia, along with UAE and Sudan, are part of the Arab Coalition fighting on behalf of the internationally-recognised government of Abdrabu Mansur Hadi in Yemen.

King Salman hosted thousands of others on the governments account last year, and in particular 1,000 relatives of slain Egyptian military and police servicemen.

Despite a diplomatic standoff with Qatar, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah launched a registration link for Qatar’s residents looking to perform Hajj this year.

The holy sites expect to receive 2 million pilgrims during Hajj season.

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