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Im reading this article and I don't think I fully understand the use of the in this context. My translation seems off with it being converted to an "and". What is the と really supposed to represent here?

イスラム教の人がサウジアラビアのメッカその近くへ祈りに行く「ハッジ」が始まりました My Translation: Hajj has started, which is where Islamic people go to pray at a vicinity and Saudi Arabia's Mecca.

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The と means "and".

「メッカその近く」 = "Mecca and its vicinity" 

イスラム教の人がサウジアラビアのメッカとその近くへ祈りに行く「ハッジ」が始まりました。
Hajj, in which Muslims go to pray in Mecca and its vicinity in Saudi Arabia, has started.

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    I see, so then the へ covers (I guess I'll call it a noun phrase) サウジアラビアのメッカとその近く as a whole – Tylersansan Aug 24 '18 at 16:54

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