UPDATE: At Least 700 Die in Saudi Arabia Hajj Stampede | Independent Newspapers Limited
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UPDATE: At Least 700 Die in Saudi Arabia Hajj Stampede

Posted: Sep 24, 2015 at 9:38 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Latest reports from Saudi Arabia say the stampede that occurred during one of the last rituals of the Hajj season killed at least 717 people and left more than 700 others wounded.

The stampede occurred during the ritual known as “stoning the devil” in the tent city of Mina, about two miles from Mecca.

Hundreds have been killed in past years during the same ceremony.

“We have a stampede accident in Mina and civil defense is dealing with it,” Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Mansour al-Turki said.

Officials deployed 4,000 workers and 220 ambulances and other vehicles to Mina to help with the disaster.

In the ritual, crowds of pilgrims throw stones at three pillars, in a re-enactment of an event when Prophet Abraham stoned the devil and rejected his temptations, according to Muslim traditions.

The ceremony was the scene of stampedes and hundreds of deaths in the 1980s and 1990s as pilgrims passed a crowded bottleneck area leading to the small pillars on the ground.

In 2006, a stampede there killed at least 363 people.

After that, the Saudi government erected three massive pillars and completed a $1.2 billion, five-story bridge nearby where pilgrims can toss stones. It was meant to be a roomier atmosphere and more efficient way to accommodate the faithful.

The civil defence directorate said on its Twitter feed that another 400 people were injured in the incident at Mina, about five kilometres from Mecca.

Rescue operations are reportedly under way, it added.

The stampede occurred on the first day of Eid al-Adha (Eid-rl-Kabir), or the Feast of the Sacrifice.



  • With reports from  BBC, CNN