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Hajj Pilgrims Stone Devil In Final Ritual

Hajj Pilgrims 'Stone The Devil' In Mecca
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Hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims have converged on the Mina Valley in Saudi Arabia for the symbolic stoning of the devil, the final ritual of the annual hajj pilgrimage.

The pilgrims -- all dressed in white -- on October 15 hurled pebbles at concrete pillars representing the devil.

The occasion coincides with the first day of Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice, which is celebrated by Muslims around the world.

On October 14, throngs of pilgrims climbed Mount Arafat for prayers, a ceremony that marked the peak of the hajj.

Saudi authorities say some 1.5 million pilgrims performed this year's hajj, down by more than half from last year's 3.2 million.

Authorities slashed the number of permits amid fears of infections from the MERS respiratory virus and construction work at the Grand Mosque in Mecca.

The hajj officially ends on October 18.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP