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Saudis face criticism over Hajj deaths

Sep 25, 2015, 6:53 AM EDT
Hajj pilgrims and Saudi emergency personnel carry a woman on a stretunded in a stampede in Mincher at the site where hundreds were killed and still more wounded.
AFP/Getty Images

Iran has led growing criticism of Saudi Arabia after at least 717 people died and 863 were injured in a stampede near the holy city of Mecca on Thursday, reports the BBC.

Iran's Supreme National Security Council accused the Saudis of "incompetence" and urged them to "take responsibility" for the deaths. Nigeria has dismissed remarks by the Saudi health minister blaming pilgrims for "not following instructions".

King Salman has ordered a safety review for the Hajj pilgrimage. In pictures: Aftermath of the stampede Accounts from BBC staff in Mina Hajj's safety concerns The crush occurred at 09:00 local time (06:00 GMT) on Thursday as two million pilgrims were taking part in the Hajj's last major rite with temperatures around 46C.

The pilgrims throw seven stones at pillars called Jamarat, which stand at the place where Satan is believed to have tempted the Prophet Abraham.

Two massive lines of pilgrims converged on each other at right angles at an intersection close to the five-storey Jamarat Bridge in Mina, a large valley about 5km (3 miles) from Mecca. This is the deadliest incident to occur during the pilgrimage in 25 years.

It is also the second disaster to strike in two weeks, after a crane collapsed at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killing 109 people.