As millions of Muslims completed the annual Hajj pilgrimage yesterday, Saudi police said they'd arrested a group that had been planning attacks, Al Arabiya reports. An official said the al-Qaeda suspects, detained at cities across the country, had been intent on disrupting the ritual and causing "security confusion." Mecca itself was not believed to have been the terror plot's target.
At the Jamrat, the site where the hajj has been marred in the past by fires and stampedes that killed hundreds, the three stone "pillars" which pilgrims pelt with stones have been converted into long elliptical concrete walls to handle many more pilgrims. Thanks to the $1-billion project, pilgrims can now throw stones on three levels, Al Arabiya reports, and this year's hajj has gone smoothly.