Muslim pilgrims in Mecca pray for ceasefire in Gaza

Pilgrims arriving in Mecca to perform Hajj rituals said on Sunday (June 9) that they are praying for a ceasefire to end the war in Gaza.

Alia Asmaa, a civil engineer from India who arrived at the Grand Mosque with her parents, hoped that a ceasefire would take place and end the war "very soon".

"Our prayers always our prayers are with Gaza and it is very sad to see people dying everyday so my wish for Gaza is that this war will end", she said.

More than 37,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's retaliatory offensive, according to Gaza health officials.

Wrapped in white robes, Egyptian pilgrim Sameh Al-Zaini said Gaza was constantly on his mind.

"The biggest concern that I am here to pray for is Gaza. Gaza is in the heart. Gaza is our pulsing wound. I pray to God, the lord of the supreme throne, to ease the situation of the people of Gaza so that their hardship and distress are gone," he said shortly after performing the first ritual of the Hajj, which involves walking in a circle around the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque.

Hajj, a once-in-a-lifetime duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it, is the world's biggest religious gathering and a major source of income for the Saudi government from worshiper's lodging, transport, fees and gifts.

(Source: Reuters)

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