700+ Killed at the Hajj – Not the first or last time
Saudi Arabia – The pilgrimage to Mecca at the time of the Hajj is now and has always been deadly due to the large crowds. This year, however, came close to the worst loss of life since 1990 – 717 plus pilgrims were killed and more than 863 injured in a stampede at Mina.
The incident occurred at 9 a.m. Thursday morning, as two groups of pilgrims met at the same time near the Jamarat Bridge, and the crowd “surged.” The push caused several people to fall, and like dominoes, the people were run over in the resulting crush of the crowd. Authorities stated that the street on which the incident occurred had many more people on it than in previous years. The Saudi Crown Prince has ordered an inquiry.
Officials reportedly began blaming the African Muslims for the incident, although that has not been confirmed by authorities.
“Street number 204 is a road leading from the camps to the Jamarat Bridge. What happened was that a group of pilgrims on busses were allowed to descend onto the pathways that lead to the Jamarat Bridge at a time that wasn’t allocated to them,” Al Arabiya News Channel’s correspondent in Mina, Saad Al-Matrafi said.
“As they neared the area, they converged with an existing group of people who were already in the area, which pushed the area to overcapacity.”
Muslims are required to attend the Hajj in Mecca at least once in their life. But that Hajj is a deadly pilgrimage- with frequent “stampedes” of people that leave hundreds even thousands dead.
DEATH TOLL IN HAJJ STAMPEDE 1990-1462 dead 1994-270 dead 1998-119 dead 2001-35 dead 2003-14 dead 2004-244 dead 2006-345 dead 2015-717 dead
— Ersin Şenel (@senelersin) September 24, 2015
The victims were headed toward three stone pillars area where Islam says that Abraham stoned the devil. (He obviously missed). About 4,000 members of the emergency response team were working in the area, as well as the Red Cross. Rescue efforts were still underway. This death toll comes just days after a crane collapse at the Grand Mosque killed 107.