First such incident recorded

Kurdish pilgrim dies in Saudi Arabia

NEWSROOM—A pilgrim from the Kurdistan Region has died while on a tourist visa in Saudi Arabia, marking the first such death reported this year.

The Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs confirmed the incident through its spokesperson, Nabaz Ismail. He stated on his Facebook page that the deceased was a woman who had traveled to Saudi Arabia on an annual tourist visa.

Sheikh Niyaz Ragheb, head of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Hajj and Umrah Directorate General, noted that there have been no other reported fatalities among those who participated in the official Hajj and Umrah programs.

This year, a significant number of individuals, totaling in the thousands, have also visited Saudi Arabia on annual visitor visas, separate from the official pilgrimage plans.

Karwan Stuni, another spokesperson for the KRG’s Hajj and Umrah Directorate General, told 964media that the official number of pilgrims for this year’s Hajj is 4,685. He detailed that 1,640 of these pilgrims would travel via land routes between May 27 and June 5, 2024.