At least 345 Muslim pilgrims have been killed in a crush in the stone-throwing ritual during the Hajj pilgrimage in Mina, Saudi Arabia, officials say. BBC correspondent at the scene said he saw dozens of bodies lined up on the ground, covered in white sheets. The ritual has been marred by deadly stampedes in the past. This year, the authorities built barriers and deployed tens of thousands of stewards in a bid to improve safety during the ceremony.
"There is an accident at the beginning of the bridge of Jamarat," Adel Zamzami, head of civil defence forces in western Saudi Arabia, told the AFP news agency. "We have a number of casualties and injuries. The [exact] number is not known yet," he said. An interior ministry spokesman, Maj Gen Mansour al-Turki, told the Associated Press news agency that the stampede happened after pieces of luggage spilled from moving buses in front of one of the entrances to the bridge, causing pilgrims to trip. More than two million people were thought to be performing the rite, in which pilgrims hurl stones at pillars representing the spot where the devil appeared to Abraham.
In 2004, more than 224 pilgrims were trampled to death while performing the same ceremony.Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16