Extraordinary photos show millions of joyful Muslims descending on Mecca’s Grand Mosque for start of Islam’s annual haj pilgrimage

Saudi authorities warn they will stop any disruptive protests at annual pilgrimage in Mecca over the conflict in Syria
Grand Mosque teeming with joyful pilgrims at dawn yesterday, wearing simple white folds of cloth prescribed for haj
Authorities say there have so far been 1.7million arrivals from abroad and about 200,000 from inside Saudi Arabia
Last year nearly 3million pilgrims performed the haj, with roughly a third from inside the conservative kingdom

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