Muslim pilgrims arrive to throw pebbles at pillars during the “Jamarat” ritual – the stoning of Satan – in Mina near Mecca. AFP / AHMAD GHARABLI
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Fear of getting caught is not enough to deter Abu Ahmad and up to 200,000 other illegal pilgrims from attending this year's hajj in Mecca, despite a clampdown by the Saudi authorities aimed at preventing deadly overcrowding.Saudi regulations limit visits to once every five years for the most likely group of repeat pilgrims, those coming from inside the kingdom and especially its population of 8 million mostly South Asian resident workers.Text messages and advertisements ahead of this year's event warned of the tightened punishments for violators: deportation from the kingdom for ten years, jail for up to six months and fines of 50,000 Saudi riyals ($13,300).
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