Buses left the city of Hebron on Sunday (2 January), on the Israeli-occupied West Bank of the Jordan, with the first pilgrims who were starting out on their journey to Mecca.
GTV Pilgrims preparing to leave on buses (2 shots)
GV Crowd of pilgrims PAN
SV Pilgrims kissing farewell
SV Pilgrims loading luggage onto truck
SV Others climbing onto bus
SV Other pilgrims kissing goodbye
SV Bus away
Initials OS/2316 OS/2310
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Buses left the city of Hebron on Sunday (2 January), on the Israeli-occupied West Bank of the Jordan, with the first pilgrims who were starting out on their journey to Mecca. From Hebron the pilgrims crossed the Allenby and Damya Bridges on their way to Amman and then on to Saudi Arabia. Haj -- as the journey is called -- is the one which every believing Moslem is traditionally supposed to make once in his lifetime. The pilgrims from Hebron are expected back in the middle of February.
SYNOPSIS: The first groups of West Bank and Gaza Strip Moslems made ready in Hebron on Sunday for the start of the journey to Mecca. Buses were prepared to carry the pilgrims from the Israeli-occupied West Bank town across the Allenby and Damya Bridges on the first leg of the trip. Permission to cross the bridges had been given by the Jordanian authorities. The pilgrims will then go to Amman and then onto Saudi Arabia.
The journey to Mecca -- or Haj, as it's called -- is the pilgrimage which every believing Moslem is traditionally supposed to make once in his life.
The some 600 Hebron pilgrims are expected to return by the middle of February.
The pilgrims from Hebron make up the largest local group who're going -- but over 1,500 people have applied to the Israeli authorities to go on the Haj.