Posted by News Express | 24 September 2015 | 3,302 times
At least 717 Hajj pilgrims have now been confirmed killed and at least 800 injured in the stampede that took place today near the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
The stampede occurred in the town of Mina, located roughly five kilometres east of Mecca, shortly after pilgrims had performed a ritual in which they threw stones at a structure representing the devil.
Speaking to an Anadolu Agency correspondent, Saudi officials said the crush happened after hundreds of pilgrims converged on a single escalator.
Saudi Civil Defence Unit officials have said that operations were still underway to find and treat the injured, noting that the death toll was expected to rise further.
According to the Saudi authorities, at least 4,000 medical workers – along with 200 ambulances – have been deployed to the scene to help in rescue efforts.
It is not yet clear if any Nigerian pilgrim is among the casualties.
The tragedy comes less than two weeks after total of 110 people were killed – six of them Nigerians – and at least 235 injured when a massive crane collapsed in Makkah’s Grand Mosque on September 11.
•Photo shows pilgrims casting stones at a pillar in Mina representing the devil.
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