Muslim pilgrims pray on a rocky hill known as Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat, during the annual hajj pilgrimage, ahead of sunrise near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
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The hajj reached its high point Sunday when Muslims from across the world converged on a stony hill in Saudi Arabia, a year after the worst tragedy in the pilgrimage's history.More than 1.8 million gathered from sunrise at the hill and a vast surrounding plain known as Mount Arafat, about 15 kilometers (nine miles) from Mecca. Arafat is the site where Muslims believe the Prophet Mohammed gave his last sermon about 14 centuries ago after leading his followers on the pilgrimage.Iran last year reported the largest number of stampede victims, at 464, and its 64,000 pilgrims are excluded for the first time in decades after the regional rivals failed to agree on security and logistics.Saudi Arabia Sunday said it launched a television channel to broadcast the hajj rituals in the Persian language, also known as Farsi, spoken in Iran.
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