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Muslim Pilgrims Complete Journey to Mecca


More than two million Muslims have completed the final day of the Hajj pilgrimage in the Saudi holy city of Mecca.

Muslims from all over the world poured into the Grand Mosque Wednesday to take part in the Tawaf al-Wadaa, known as the "farewell," where pilgrims circle and pray around a cubical structure called the Kaaba.

Many came by bus or foot from Mount Mina, just outside the holy city of Mecca, where for a third day they took part in a ritual of throwing stones at a wall symbolizing the devil.

The ritual coincides with the beginning of Eid al-Adha -- or "Festival of Sacrifice," considered one of the most important days in the Islamic calendar.

This year's pilgrimage went smoothly compared to other years, which have been marred by fires and stampedes.

Saudi Arabian authorities deployed some 100,000 security personnel, and the country spent more than one billion dollars building a multi-level pedestrian bridge to ease overcrowding.

The Hajj is one of Islam's five obligations. Every Muslim, if capable, must perform it at least once during his or her lifetime.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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