Thousands of Egyptian pilgrims return from Hajj
Muslim pilgrims move in circles around the holy Kaaba from the third floor at the Grand Mosque ahead of the annual haj pilgrimage in Mecca September 21, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

CAIRO: Thousands of Egyptian pilgrims are arriving in Cairo after performing the Hajj rituals, which ended Saturday.

A total of 4,500 pilgrims are expected to arrive Monday in Cairo, Alexandria and Sharm el-Sheikh airports on board of 16 flights operated by Egypt Air Company. Some 3,250 arrived Sunday at Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Aswan airports.

The number of returning pilgrims per flight is expected to rise by October, and official source at Egypt Air told Youm7.

Approximately 70, 000 Egyptian pilgrims headed to Saudi Arabia this year to perform the annual event of Hajj, meaning pilgrimage. The five-day ritual is one of the five pillars of Islam, and began this year Sept. 22.

Among the number of deaths reported between pilgrims this year, dozens of Egyptians died due to sudden health crisis and reported accidents.

At least 50 Egyptian pilgrims were killed in a stampede that took place while performing the “stoning of the devil” ritual in Mina near Mecca last week. Some 120 are missing, according to Minister of Religious Endowment Mokhtar Gomaa.

On Sept. 11, two Egyptian pilgrims died from their injuries caused by a construction crane that collapsed in the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, announced the Egyptian Ministry of Health.

The Ministry has also reported that a number of Egyptian pilgrims have died of health issues, mostly of circulatory collapse.

The Hajj is the largest Muslim gathering through the year, and this year included an estimated 2 million participants.

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