More than 700 dead and over 850 injured is the sickening death toll following a stampede near Mecca during the Hajj religious festival.
Pilgrims were on their way to the “stoning of the devil” ritual at the pillars of Jamarat when two large groups met at a crossroads in the tented town in Mina valley.
The Hajj is the world’s largest annual gathering of people and there have been regular accidents in Mecca, despite the Saudi authorities spending billions to improve infrastructure.
“ I express my condolences to me, to you and to all pilgrims for the stampede that happened today in Mina. I also express my condolences to the relatives of the victims. We asked the concerned authorities to investigate into the causes of the dramatic incident and come out with the results of the investigations as soon as possible,” said King Salman bin Abdulaziz.
The Saudi Health Minister said pilgrims failing to follow instructions
had been the main cause of the tragedy, the worst in Mecca for a quarter-century.
Security at the Hajj is a politically sensitive issue for Saudi Arabia, the guardians of the Islamic world’s most sacred sites.