Muslim pilgrims listen to instructions during a rest stop between Taif and Mecca on August 19, 2017, in preparation for their annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca. AFP / Amer HILABI
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More than 1.4 million Muslims have so far arrived in Saudi Arabia for the hajj, authorities said Thursday, with the annual pilgrimage marked by the return of Iranians after a boycott by Tehran last year.Over 2 million people are expected to participate in this year's hajj, a pillar of Islam that capable Muslims must perform at least once in their lives, which starts next week.However, the Saudi media has repeatedly broadcast images showing officials courteously assisting Qatari pilgrims.Iran's 64,000 pilgrims stayed away for the first time in three decades after tensions between Riyadh and Tehran boiled over following a deadly stampede during the 2015 pilgrimage.
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