Update: The death toll in the Hajj stampede near the Islamic holy city of Makkah has risen to 769 casualties.
More than 1,000 people were injured in the incident at Mina, which occurred as two million pilgrims were taking part in the Hajj’s last major rite. Thursday’s incident is the deadliest to occur during the pilgrimage in 25 years. Saudi Arabia’s top religious leader has said that the stampede was beyond human control.
The Kingdom’s leaders have ordered an inquiry into the disaster and a revision of its organization. The country drew fierce criticism from regional rival Iran over its handling of pilgrims’ safety. At least 131 Iranian have dies in the disaster, according to Tehran officials.
The incident occurred on Thursday when two large groups of pilgrims converged from different directions on to one street as they were heading to Jamarat for the stoning ritual. The pilgrims travel to Mina to throw seven stones at pillars, where Satan is believed to have tempted the Prophet Ibrahim.
Some people were going towards the directions of throwing the stones while others were coming from the opposite direction. Then it became chaotic and suddenly people started going down. People fell on the ground seeking help but there was no-one to give them a helping hand.
The foreign diplomats and representatives visited the hospitals to identify the injured and the dead. Several countries confirmed deaths in the stampede including Algeria, Chad, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Tanzania.
According to Moroccan media, at least 87 people died in the Hajj stampede at Mina, a large valley 5 km Makkah. The recent tragedy is the second disaster to strike Makkah in two weeks, after a crane collapsed at the Grand Masjid, killing 109 people. IMAGE/AFP