Egypt Revokes Operating Licenses of 16 Tourism Companies Following Hajj-Related Deaths, Reports Say

© Sputnik . Alexey Vitvitsky / Go to the mediabankAl-Sahaba Mosque in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
Al-Sahaba Mosque in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 23.06.2024
According to the country's medical and security sources, a total of 530 Egyptians lost their lives during the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca this year due to extreme heat. On Thursday, with a view to investigating the deaths, a crisis unit was established in Egypt.
Egypt revoked the operating licenses of 16 tourism companies and reported them to the public prosecutor following Haj-related fatalities, the media reported.
According to the media, the tourism companies that assisted the deceased travelers did not offer any services, including medical assistance. The agencies are criticized for sending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia on personal visit visas instead of Hajj visas, which grant access to Mecca for religious rituals.
Muslim pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Monday, June 17, 2024. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 20.06.2024
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Those traveling on personal visas did not receive medical services provided by Saudi authorities, the outlet said. The pilgrims who passed away reportedly had to walk through the desert to reach Mecca to prevent arrest or expulsion.
Last week, at least 53 Tunisians also reportedly lost their lives in Saudi Arabia due to the severe heat, with several people missing. Following this, the Tunisian Minister of Religious Affairs, Brahim Chaibi, was dismissed, the presidency said.