Islam’s holiest site has been hit by a swarm of locusts forcing religious authorities to launch an unprecedented clean-up operation.
Vision shared on social media (see above) showed the insects swarming around the Great Mosque in Mecca, which hosts millions of Muslim pilgrims every year.
Mecca authorities shared pictures on Twitter of the cleaners, wearing face masks, spraying insecticide as they tried to decontaminate the site.
The authority also posted images of cleaners spraying insecticide directly into the mosque’s sewage system and water drains around the Great Mosque.
Officials asked that the insects be identified as “black grasshoppers”, CNN‘s Arabic website reports.
In a statement shared by CNN, officials from the Holy Mecca Municipality said: “A reference to the video clips shared on social media, which shows the spread of insects in the squares surrounding the Holy Mosque of Mecca, the Secretariat of the Holy City wishes that this insect is called black grasshoppers.”
“Specialized teams have been directed to work in the fight to eliminate these insects,” authorities in Mecca said, according to the Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news site.
“We have harnessed all efforts available to speed up the eradication of the insects in the interest of the safety and comfort of guests of God’s house,” the Mecca authorities confirmed.
According to CNN, 22 teams consisting of 138 people were dispatched to deal with the infestation.
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