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Saudi officials say more than 1.5 million foreign pilgrims travelled to Mecca this year [GETTY]

At least 19 Jordanian and Iranian pilgrims have died while on the hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, authorities from their countries said on Sunday, as temperatures soar in the kingdom.

"Fourteen Jordanian pilgrims died and 17 others were missing" during the performance of hajj rituals, Jordan's foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ministry later confirmed the 14 had died "after suffering sun stroke due to the extreme heat wave".

Iranian Red Crescent chief Pirhossein Koolivand separately said "five Iranian pilgrims have lost their lives so far in Mecca and Medina during the hajj this year", without saying how they died.

The hajj, one of the world's biggest religious gatherings, is one of the five pillars of Islam and all Muslims with the means must perform it at least once. 

Temperatures have pushed well past 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) during the annual pilgrimage that around 1.8 million Muslims are taking part in this year.

Many of the rituals are performed outdoors and on foot, creating challenges especially among the elderly. By The New Arab Staff & Agencies

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