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Saudi religious leaders: Hajj stampede beyond human control
The stampede was the worst incident to occur in Mecca during the hajj since 1990, when 1,426 pilgirms, many from Indonesia, Pakistan and Malaysia, were killed in a stampede in a pedestrian tunnel.
He also said that 25,000 health workers are on hand to care for the pilgrims.
The official said the Saudi government prevents any entrance for the identification of the dead bodies.
Over 700 people were crushed to death in Mina, a short distance from the holy city Mecca yesterday, as Muslims around the world celebrated Eid.
Iranian leaders have condemned Saudi authorities over what they charge were flawed safety measures that led to the tragedy, and also Riyadh’s handling of the disaster.
Two weeks prior to the stampede, 110 people died in Mecca’s Grand Mosque when a construction crane collapsed during a storm and fell into the main courtyard.
On Saturday, groups of pilgrims were moving from early morning towards Jamarat Bridge for the last of three stoning days.
The Iranian delegation is still waiting for visas to enter Saudi Arabia, in order to start overseeing the treatment of injured Iranians and the repatriation of the remains of victims of the stampede, according to Iranian state television.
“The absence of accountability regarding the Mina disaster by Saudi officials is unacceptable”, said Hossein Amir-Abdullahian, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for Arab-African affairs.
Egypt’s Religious Endowments Minister Mohammed Mokhtar Gomaa told the state-run MENA news agency the death toll for his country had risen to 14.
“The report said the presence of the prince in the middle of the population prompted a change in the direction of the movement of the pilgrims and a stampede”, Iran-owned Press TV said.
King Salman has ordered the formation of a committee to probe the deadly incident during the five-day pilgrimage in which around two million people from over 180 countries took part.
The hajj pilgrimage is a main pillar of Islam that all able-bodied Muslims must perform once in their lifetime.