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King Salman Orders Review Of Hajj Plan - A Look At The Worst Stampedes During Hajj: Despite Accidents Pilgrims On Hajj Show No Fear

26 September 2015

Saud King Salman on Thursday in a televised speech offered his condolences after more than 700 people were killed in a stampede during the Hajj pilgrimage in Makkah earlier, and said he has ordered a review of the country's pilgrimage plan.

The king also said he had requested a swift investigation into what he described as a painful incident where at least 863 others were injured in the crush at a crossroad on Street 204 at the camp city in Mina, a few kilometers east of Makkah.

At a press conference before sunset prayers, Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki told reporters that the street at which the stampede took place ''witnessed unprecedented high number of pilgrims'' compared to previous years.

Turki said the investigation would look into what caused an unusual density of pilgrims to congregate at the location of the disaster. ''The reason for that is not known yet,'' he told a news conference in Mina.

A Look At The Worst Stampedes During Hajj

The deadly stampede at the Haj in Mina on Thursday has become the second worst in a number of tragedies to strike the pilgrimage, surpassed only by a tunnel stampede 25 years ago.

As of the latest count by the Directorate for Civil Defense, the death toll in Thursday's stampede has jumped to 717 and 865 more were injured, some critically.

The worst ever was in July 2, 1990, when pilgrims stampeded in a tunnel at Mina after a ventilation system failure, 1,426 pilgrims, mainly from Asia.

Third worst was in July 31, 1987, when Saudi security forces suppressed rampaging Iranian pilgrims. More than 400 people, including 275 Iranians were killed, according to an official toll.
Coming in fourth was another stampede on January 12, 2006, killing 364 pilgrims during the stoning ritual in Mina. Six days before that, 76 people died when a hotel collapsed in downtown Makkah.

In an uncanny similarity, this year's stampede was also preceded by another tragedy in Makkah. A total of 111 and more than 400 people, including foreign pilgrims, were killed when a crane collapsed on the circumambulation area of the Grand Mosque amid strong winds and heavy rain on September 11.

The fifth worst was on April 15 when a fire caused by a gas stove ripped through a camp housing pilgrims at Mina, killing 343 and injuring around 1,500.

Below is a timeline compiled by Agence France Presse (AFP) of significant incidents during the annual event, which draws around two million Muslim faithful from around the world.

2015
September 24: A stampede during the ''stoning of the devil'' ritual in Mina leaves at least 717 pilgrims dead and over 860 injured.
September 11: 109 people are killed and hundreds injured, including many foreigners, when a crane collapses on Makkah's Grand Mosque after strong winds and heavy rain.

2006
January 6: 76 people die when a hotel collapses in the city center.
January 12: 364 pilgrims are killed in a stampede during the stoning ritual in Mina. The ritual involves Haj participants throwing pebbles at three headstones, symbolizing their rejection of Satan.

2005
January 22: Three pilgrims are crushed to death in a stampede at the stoning ceremony in Mina.

2004
February 1: 251 people are killed in a stampede at Mina, also at the stoning of the devil.

2003
February 11: 14 faithful, including six women, die on the first day of the stoning ritual.

2001
March 5: 35 pilgrims, including 23 women, die at the ritual in Mina.

1998
April 9: More than 118 people are killed and 180 injured in a stampede at Mina.

1997
April 15: A fire caused by a gas stove rips through a camp housing pilgrims at Mina, killing 343 and injuring around 1,500.

1995
May 7: Three people die and 99 are injured when a fire breaks out at the Mina camp.

1994
May 24: 270 people are killed in a stampede during the stoning, an incident authorities attribute to ''record numbers'' of pilgrims at the site.

1990
July 2: A huge stampede in a tunnel at Mina after a failure in its ventilation system kills 1,426 pilgrims, mainly from Asia.

1989
July 10: A twin attack on the outside of the Grand Mosque kills one and wounds 16. Sixteen Kuwaiti Shiites are found guilty of the crime and executed weeks later.

1987
July 31: Saudi security forces suppress an unauthorized protest held by Iranian pilgrims. More than 400 people, including 275 Iranians are killed, according to an official toll.

1979
November 20: Hundreds of gunmen opposed to the Saudi government barricade themselves inside the Grand Mosque, taking dozens of pilgrims hostage. The official toll of the assault and subsequent fighting is 153 people dead and 560 wounded.

1975
December: A huge fire started by a gas cannister exploding in a pilgrim camp close to Makkah kills 200 people.

Despite Accidents Pilgrims On Hajj Show No Fear

The series of recent unfortunate events in Saudi Arabia have not scared off Muslims from undertaking the Hajj pilgrimage, one of the key tenets of the Islamic faith.

Since pilgrims started to arrive at the holy city of Makkah last week, the kingdom has registered over 1.3 million people taking part so far.

''Saudi Arabia is doing an amazing job, and it is doing its best to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to all pilgrims,'' Aziz Haddou, the president of the French association for Hajj and Umrah (an optional pilgrimage performed by some Muslims), told Al Arabiya News.

''Now some people may be scared and fear other similar incidents, and that is normal,'' Haddou said, ''but the incidents have probably not in any case influenced the number of Muslims traveling from Europe.''

This year's pilgrimage comes as Saudi Arabia faces various challenges. Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) attacks on mosques in the kingdom have killed dozens of people over the last few months.

The country also faces a new transmission of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS) among pilgrims, which over the last few years has killed 520 people. 

 

  EsinIslam.Com

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