453 killed, 719 injured, including an Indian, in a stampede in Mecca

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As many as 453 Haj pilgrims were killed and 719 injured, including an Indian, in a stampede in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca on 24 September, officials in Saudi Arabia say.

The incident took place when the pilgrims were doing the last Haj rite—stoning the devil—at Muzdalifah in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi civil defence directorate tweeted that 4,000 had been sent to the site along with more than 220 emergency and rescue units. The injured are being taken to four hospitals for treatment in the area.

It was not clear as to what triggered the stampede, but it is not the first time that it (stampede) to have occurred during the Haj.

Videos released after the stampede show torn clothes and blood on the streets of Mina. Images show Saudi Civil Defence Forces gathering the bodies on the streets covered in white shroud.

It is situated five km away to the east of the holy city of Mecca, and stands on the road from Mecca’s city centre to the Hill of Arafat.

In recent days there has been a spate of incidents in Mecca, where more than two million Muslim pilgrims have gathered for the annual Haj pilgrimage.

The symbolic stoning of the devil at Muzdalifah coincides with the Eid al-Adha (Bakrid) marked by more than 1.5 billion Muslims.

Prophet Abraham, who is said to have stoned the devil at three locations when he tried to dissuade Abraham from God’s order to sacrifice his son Ishmael.

After 364 pilgrims were killed in a stampede in 2006, the Saudi authorities, to prevent such incidents, have spruced up transport and other infrastructure.

So far, 2700 people have been killed in stampedes in Mecca.

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