Numerous official news outlets around the world as well as onsite social media postings are attesting to an attack of Holy Mecca and its pilgrims by swarms of locust.
Some might say it is an attack of Biblical (Exodus 10: 12-20) and/or Quranic (7:133) proportions.
Pictures on social media show swarms of black locust aggregating around the Kaaba, the most holy building in Mecca. The images show locusts flying around light fixtures, clinging to marble surfaces of the Mecca complex and even descending on pilgrims while they pray.
Worshippers have been literally bugged by the flying black grasshoppers at Al-Masjid Al-Ḥarām, i.e., the Grand Mosque and the largest mosque in the world, as well as the entire area as they perform umrah.
City officials have taken action. According to Tom O'Connor at Newsweek (Jan 11), "22 teams consisting of 138 individuals and 111 devices" are attempting to combat the pests.
The municipality of Mecca said it was "harnessing all the efforts, capabilities and possibilities available to the eliminate these insects in the interest of the safety of guests of the sacred house of God."
According to Newsweek, Hazal bin Mohammed al-Zafar, head of the Plant Protection Department at King Saud University in Riyadh, locusts are not known to transmit diseases to humans. Al-Zafar indicated that locust swarming is a natural phenomenon and suggested it is likely related to recent rains in the Hejaz area.
The Secretariat of the Holy Capital @HolyMakkah tweeted that sanitation teams have been working "around the clock and around Mecca" until the pests are eliminated, "Insha'Allah."