Egypt says 55 of its citizens are among the more than 700 people who died in a crush of Muslim pilgrims during this year’s hajj in Saudi Arabia.
Sardar Muhammad Yousaf, speaking to state-run Pakistan Television Sunday night from Saudi Arabia, says 85 Pakistanis were still missing and efforts were underway to locate them.
The number of Indians killed in the stampede near the Muslim holy city of Mecca has risen to 35, India’s foreign ministry has said.
Saudi Arabia deployed large numbers of security reinforcements Saturday as pilgrims performed the final rituals of a hajj marred by double tragedy, with the death toll from a stampede rising to 769. Offering condolence, particularly to the families of Pakistani pilgrims martyred in the incident, they said, “We equally share your sorrow and pray for eternal rest in peace for the martyred and solace for you“. Iranian state media also have suggested that the death toll in the disaster was far higher, without providing any corroboration.
Relations between Shiite Iran and Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia were already severely strained by conflicts in Yemen and Syria, and an worldwide agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. But pilgrims blamed the stampede on police road closures and poor management of the throng, during searing temperatures.
Rouhani used the podium to lash out at Saudi authorities, saying that “due to their unaccountability, even the missing can not be identified and the expeditious return of the bodies of the deceased to their mourning families has been prevented”.
Iranian Attorney General Ebrahim Raeisi earlier called what happened “not only incompetence, but a crime”.
Saudi King Salman, whose official title is “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques” in Mecca and Medina, ordered “a revision” of how the hajj is organized, and a formal Saudi inquiry is under way into the stampede.
More than 2 million people took part in this year’s Hajj pilgrimage.
Countries continue to count their dead from the Mina disaster.
Chairman of the National Hajj Commission, Abdullahi Mukhtar, has confirmed that at least 54 Nigerians were among the 717 pilgrims who died during last Thursday’s stampede in Mecca.