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Saudi Arabia Vows To Ensure Peace At Hajj

Saudi Arabia says it will use "all means" to ensure security at this year's haj pilgrimage.
Crown Prince Nayef, the new heir to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, has warned the kingdom will use "all means" to ensure a peaceful hajj pilgrimage amid tumult in other Arab countries and rising tensions with Iran.

Millions of Muslims have started to arrive in the holy city of Mecca to perform the hajj, one of Islam's five pillars and a duty for all Muslims who are able.

"We are ready to face all events, whatever they are...our means are peaceful...except for those who want to attack, whom we will prevent with all means," Nayef said.

Nayef, who is also interior minister, was speaking after a military parade featuring riot police, special forces, and tanks.

In 1987, clashes between Iranian pilgrims and Saudi security forces led to the deaths of hundreds of people.

Last month, the Interior Ministry accused an unnamed foreign power, widely seen as Iran, of backing an armed attack by members of the kingdom's Shi'ite minority on a police station.

Later in October, the United States accused two Iranians of plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington with the backing of Tehran. Iran denied the charges.

compiled from Reuters reports