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Thursday, 24 September 2015

717 killed in Hajj pilgrimage stampede

At least 717 pilgrims from around the world were killed in a stampede outside the Muslim holy city of Mecca in the worst disaster to strike the annual Hajj pilgrimage for 25 years.

At least 863 others were injured.

Saudi King Salman said he had ordered a review of hajj plans after the disaster, in which two large groups of pilgrims arrived together at a crossroads in Mina, a few kilometres east of Mecca, on their way to performing the "stoning of the devil" ritual at Jamarat. 

 
It was the worst incident to occur at the pilgrimage since July 1990, when 1,426 pilgrims suffocated in a tunnel near Mecca.

Both incidents occurred on Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice), Islam's most important feast and the day of the stoning ritual.

The Hajj, the world's largest annual gathering of people, has been the scene of numerous deadly stampedes, fires and riots in the past.

However, their frequency has been greatly reduced in recent years as the government spent billions of dollars upgrading and expanding infrastructure and crowd control technology.




Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the Saudi government should accept responsibility for the crush, in which more than 100 Iranian nationals were reported to have died.

King Salman offered deep condolences.

"We have instructed concerned authorities to review the operations plan ... (and) to raise the level of organisation and management to ensure that the guests of God perform their rituals in comfort and ease," the monarch said.....................http://www.rte.ie/news/2015/0924/729937-haj-mecca/

24/9/15

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