Saudi Regime in Crisis Mode as Hajj Stampede Death Toll Reaches 717
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman was working on disaster containment and prevention strategies after Thursday’s mass tragedy in Mina, where at least 717 people were killed and 863 others injured in a stampede during the Hajj pilgrimage.
The king said there was a need “to improve the level of organisation and management of movement” of pilgrims.
In the latest reaction:
— A commission to investigate the crush has been formed by the Saudi government
— The Saudi health minister, Khaled al-Falih, said the crush occurred because many pilgrims moved “without respecting the timetables” established by authorities
— Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, which lost at least 95 of its citizens in the crush, said the Saudi government “must accept the huge responsibility for this catastrophe”
Meanwhile, CNN provided some recent historical context:
Hundreds have been killed in past years during the same ceremony, and it comes only 13 days after a crane collapse killed more than 100 people at another major Islamic holy site, the Grand Mosque in Mecca.
Deadly stampede at Hajj pilgrimage near Mecca
Deadly stampede at Hajj pilgrimage near Mecca 02:55 The incident is the deadliest disaster at Mina since 1990, when 1,426 people died.
Civil defense authorities said the latest death toll is 717, with 863 people injured, but the numbers have been climbing steadily. Officials deployed 4,000 workers, along with 220 ambulances and other vehicles, to Mina in response to the disaster.
–Posted by Kasia Anderson
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