Horror at the Hajj: At least 700 people are crushed to death and hundreds injured in stampede during Muslim pilgrimage in Mecca just two weeks after crane collapse killed 109
At least 717 people have been crushed to death and hundreds of others hurt in a stampede of pilgrims in one of the worst incidents in years to hit the Muslim Hajj in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia’s civil defence service said rescue operations were under way after the stampede in Mina, where almost two million pilgrims were taking part in the last major rite of the Hajj.
Pictures showed a horrific scene, with scores of bodies – the men dressed in the simple terry cloth garments worn during Hajj – lying amid crushed wheelchairs and water bottles along a sunbaked street.
Survivors assessed the scene from the top of roadside stalls near white tents as rescue workers in orange and yellow vests combed the area, placing victims on stretchers and desperately trying to resuscitate others.
The disaster comes just two weeks after a construction crane collapsed at Mecca’s Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site, killing 109 people.
Pilgrims had converged on Mina just outside Mecca on Thursday to throw pebbles at one of three walls representing Satan, the symbolic ‘stoning of the devil’ that marks the last day of the event.
The civil defence service said that it was still counting the dead, who included pilgrims from different countries and that at least 863 people had also been hurt.
Iran said at least 43 of its citizens were dead and accused Saudi Arabia of safety errors that caused the accident.
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Source News: Daily Mail