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Muslims Celebrate Start Of Eid Al-Adha As Hajj Enters Final Days


People greet each other after offering Eid al-Adha prayers in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on September 1.

Muslims around the world are celebrating the start of the Eid al-Adha holiday on September 1 as some 2 million Muslim pilgrims carry out the final rites of the annual hajj in Saudi Arabia.

After dawn, hundreds of thousands of people began a symbolic ritual of stoning the devil amid tight security in the desert valley of Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, two years after a stampede killed some 2,300 pilgrims at the event.

The pilgrims cast pebbles at three large columns, chanting "God is the greatest" each time.

Muslim worshippers gather outside Namrah Mosque during the Hajj pilgrimage in Arafat, near Mecca, Saudi Arabia on August 31
Muslim worshippers gather outside Namrah Mosque during the Hajj pilgrimage in Arafat, near Mecca, Saudi Arabia on August 31

The final days of hajj coincide with Eid al-Ahda, the multiday festival also known as the Feast of Sacrifice. Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, are the two most important festivals in the Islamic calendar.

It is traditional to slaughter livestock for Eid al-Adha and distribute the meat to the poor.

Most pilgrims will remain in Mina until September 4 before completing the hajj. They will then circle the cube-shaped Kaaba in Mecca, Islam's most sacred site, before departing.

Following the 2015 stampede in Mina, the Saudi government has widened some roads to try to improve the safety of the hajj. More than 100,000 security forces have been deployed there during the hajj to assist pilgrims.

Based on reporting by AP, dpa

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