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More than 700 killed in Muslim stampede during pilgrimage to Mecca

map-saudi-arabiaMINA, SAUDI ARABIA – A catastrophic stampede of Muslim worshippers at a ritual of the Hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, killed over 700 people.

The Saudi Arabian Civil Defense announced today that 717 pilgrims were killed and another 805 wounded in a stampeded in Mina during the annual Hajj Pilgrimage.

The stampede occurred at 9:00 am at the intersection of 204th and 223rd Streets in Mina. The Civil Defense said it deployed some 4,000 workers along with over 220 ambulances and other vehicles, in response to the disaster.

Crown Prince Mohammad bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, who is also Chairman of Hajj Higher Committee, chaired today in Mina an extraordinary meeting of Hajj security leaders to discuss the stampede in Mina earlier today. During the meeting, the Crown Prince instructed the formation of a special high-level investigative committees to investigate the cause of the stampede and submit its findings to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

Saudi officials announced Tuesday that 1,384,941 foreign pilgrims from 164 countries have arrived in the Kingdom for this year’s Hajj. This year’s number reflect a 0.5 percent drop from the previous year.

For decades, officials in Saudi Arabia have struggled to find answers on how to control the crush of people during the event. Just two weeks ago, a crane collapsed in Mecca, killing over 100 people.

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