World Bulletin / News Desk
Two million Muslims from across the globe are converging on Mecca in Saudi Arabia for the hajj pilgrimage, a religious duty and for some pilgrims the journey of a lifetime.
This year sees the return of pilgrims from Shiite Iran, regional rival to Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia, and comes with the Gulf.
"I'm so excited because many people dream of coming to this place," said 47-year-old Eni from Indonesia, her face framed in a sand-coloured veil trimmed with lace.
"We feel more religious when we leave this place," she said.
Eni's compatriots throng Jeddah airport 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of Mecca, as tens of thousands of pilgrims pass through the gateway to the hajj every day.
But Eni is almost oblivious to the hubbub that surrounds her as she studies her Koran in the oppressive heat, pearls of sweat beading her face.
"After my first pilgrimage I felt I wanted to come back to feel myself close to him," she said of the Prophet Mohammed before returning her attention to Islam's holy book.
The hajj is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith, which every Muslim is required to complete at least once in a lifetime if he or she has the means to do so.
"This year we expect around two million pilgrims," Abdelmajeed Mohammad Al-Afghani, director of hajj and umra (lesser pilgrimage) affairs, told AFP.
Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim has been taken to hospital after complaining of shoulder and back pain.
The attack targeted a meeting of ISIL leaders in the eastern Deir Ez Zour province
On eve of Election Day, Devlet Bahceli also warns of economic attacks and international conspiracies against Turkey
Operations were carried out in Turkish provinces of Gaziantep, Mugla, Osmaniye, Tekirdag, Nevsehir, and Istanbul
Official results of Iraq’s parliamentary election have been dogged by controversy and allegations of vote-rigging
Binali Yildirim slams opposition for raising questions over security arrangements
Turkish president slams opposition presidential candidate for saying he will sleep outside top electoral body
Nearly $60M invested to organize anti-narcotic operations in 5 years, says minister
Threat comes after EU announced 25 percent tariff on US products
Turkish premier stresses stability, confidence in country for continued investments
Armed terrorists ‘neutralized’ in northern Iraqi region of Gara
Chairman of main opposition party says Turkey has to produce added-value goods
EU police agency Europol arrests 28 suspects in operation against organized crime syndicate
Prayer day observed across Pakistan on appeal of Grand Mufti to support Erdogan in June 24 elections
Lebanese president asks German leader for help repatriating his country’s large Syrian refugee population