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Thousands Of Muslims Gather At Mt. Arafat As Hajj Peaks

Muslim pilgrims pray at the Masjid al-Haram Mosque, Islam's holiest site, two days before the hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on September 20.

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims have gathered at Mount Arafat near the Saudi holy city of Mecca to mark the peak of the annual hajj pilgrimage.

The stone hill is where the Prophet Muhammad delivered his last sermon some 1,400 years ago.

Worshippers wear white cloth and chant to God asking forgiveness for their sins.

On September 24, pilgrims will throw small stones at a symbolic devil in the Mina Valley and celebrate the start of the Eid al-Adha feast.

Officials say an estimated 1.3 million Muslims from 164 countries are in Saudi Arabia to perform the five-day hajj, which began on September 22.

Addressing pilgrims in Arafat, top Saudi cleric Abd al-Aziz al-Sheikh praised the kingdom for "restoring legitimacy to Yemen."

Saudi Arabia is leading a Sunni military coalition in Yemen against Shi'ite Huthi rebels.

Sheikh said "the Huthis and [the Islamic State] are sheer evil."

Based on reporting by dpa and AP