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    Millions Of Muslims Arrive In Saudi Arabia For Haj

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    NTDTelevision

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    Millions of Muslim pilgrims have arrived in Saudi Arabia for Haj, as they retrace a route taken by the Prophet Mohammed.
    This year a metro line between Haj sites is operating for the first time to help reduce overcrowding.

    Sunrise over Saudi Arabia during one of the holiest of seasons.

    It's here -- in the city of Mina, just east of Mecca -- that millions of Muslim faithful prepare for the Haj pilgrimage.

    The Haj is one of the world's largest religious gatherings, and is a duty for all able-bodied Muslims.

    Many have waited years for a visa to be here.

    Pilgrims head towards encampments, hoping to trace the path of the Prophet Mohammed's last pilgrimage 14 centuries ago.

    [Mahboob Bangosh, Canadian Pilgrin]
    "You are part of a group. And all these things that are basic ritual, like this cloth, they are basically making you equal to everyone. That is the main spirit of Haj."

    This year a metro line between Haj sites is operating for the first time to help reduce overcrowding.

    A stampede of pilgrims in 2006 killed 362 people, and Saudi authorities have looked to improve facilities.

    Security is also tight this year amid fears of attack by al Qaeda's regional wing -- but the group has denied any plans to disrupt the pilgrimage.

    The Haj will last for five days and will see millions of pilgrims arriving from around the world.