More than two million Muslims have begun the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca.
One of the world’s biggest religious gatherings, it brings worshippers from all over the world to Saudi Arabia and Islam’s holiest city.
Performing the Hajj is a duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it.
Safety issues are always a concern after deadly stampedes in the past but no major incidents have been reported this year.
As pilgrims set off from Mecca to the camp at Mina where they will spend the night, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula denied it would stage any action to coincide with the Hajj. It follows comments from a Saudi minister who had said such a plot could not be ruled out.