Egyptian Hajj pilgrims stranded for hours due to bus delay

Most Egyptian pilgrims performing the Hajj this year were stranded until midnight Saturday at Mount Arafat in Saudi Arabia when bus transport halted between the mountain and the valley of Muzdalifah, where the pilgrims were supposed to reach by sunset.

Seventy percent of the buses scheduled to pick up the pilgrims from Mount Arafat failed to arrive in time due to “unprecedented” traffic congestion, said Assistant Interior Minister Salah Hashem, who is heading Egypt’s official Hajj delegation.

The Egyptian delegation submitted a complaint to the Saudi authorities, who investigated the busing delay and eventually attributed it to the congestion.

Earlier in October ahead of the annual pilgrimage, Saudi authorities warned Hajj pilgrims against engaging in any political activities while in the kingdom.

In September, thousands of Egyptian pilgrims were stranded and mistreated at Jedda International Airport before being flown back to Cairo. Some observers consider the incident a manifestation of Saudi Arabia's antagonism to the Egyptian revolution and the trial of toppled President Hosni Mubarak, a longtime ally.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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