Another Haj tragedy: 220 dead in stampede at Mecca

Earlier this month a construction crane collapse had killed 109 people

GN Bureau | September 24, 2015


#haj   #mecca   #Saudi Arabia   #muslim  

In an unfortunate incident, at least 220 pilgrims died and 400 others injured on Thursday when a stampede broke out in Mina, outside the Muslim holy city of Mecca, during Haj.

Rescue operations are underway, Saudi Arabia's civil defence service said on Twitter.

The mishap occurred when hundreds of thousands of pilgrims were taking part in the last major rite of the haj, which is to perform stoning of the devil. The symbolic stoning of the devil today coincides with the Eid al-Adha feast of sacrifice marked by the world's more than 1.5 billion Muslims.

Saudi officials said a total of 13,74,206 foreign pilgrims have arrived for Haj this year.  The Saudi government has deployed nearly 100,000 men in uniform at the holy sites.

Every year, millions of Muslims converge on the Saudi holy cities of Mecca and Medina for the annual haj pilgrimage, with the massive ceremonies representing a major security and logistical challenge for the kingdom's authorities.

The haj is among the five pillars of Islam and every capable Muslim must perform it at least once in a lifetime. For many, it is the spiritual peak of their lives.

Earlier this month, a construction crane collapse at Mecca's Grand Mosque, Islam's holiest site, had killed 109 people, including 11 Indians. About 400 people were injured by the crane which was working on an expansion of the mosque.

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