Thursday, September 24, 2015

Nearly 1,000 Muslims Trampled To Death In Hajj Stampede In Mecca

Now The End Begins Nearly 1,000 Muslims Trampled To Death In Hajj Stampede In Mecca by Geoffrey Grider At least 717 Muslims have been crushed to death in a stampede outside Mecca and more than 850 injured in the deadliest disaster on the annual Hajj pilgrimage in a quarter of a century. The tragedy unfolded in a dusty, overcrowded valley a few miles outside Mecca as pilgrims were preparing for one of the last major rites of their trip. Panic broke out when two groups collided at an intersection in the Mina valley, where a temporary city of 160,000 tents house over 2 million people for a few days each year. nearly-1000-dead-in-hajj-stampede-mecca-muslims-islam-september-2015 The crush left dishevelled bodies of victims and injured survivors sprawled amid rubbish and abandoned wheelchairs, videos and photos from the site showed. More than 4,000 rescue workers raced to the scene to offer first aid and rush the most critical cases to nearby hospitals, but even as ambulances ferried bodies and injured survivors from the site of the disaster, the recriminations began. More than 40 Iranians were among the dead, and Tehran blamed Saudi authorities for letting crowds get out of control. “Today’s incident shows mismanagement and lack of serious attention to the safety of pilgrims,” Said Ohadi, the head of Iran’s hajj organisation, was quoted saying by AFP. “There is no other explanation. The Saudi officials should be held accountable.” The Saudi health minister, Khaled al-Falih, was equally quick to point a finger of blame at the dead themselves saying the tragedy could have been avoided if undisciplined pilgrims had “followed instructions”. The two countries are old enemies, whose mutual distrust is amplified by sectarian differences. They have vied for regional influence for decades and are backing opposite sides in the wars in Yemen and Syria. source

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