RealNews

244 Die in Saudi Stampede During Muslim Pilgrimage

At least 244 Muslim pilgrims were crushed to death and a similar number were injured Sunday in a stampede during a Devil-stoning ritual at the climax of the annual hajj season in Saudi Arabia. Panic spread rapidly after some people in the crowd collapsed just as many of the two million white-robed pilgrims, chanting “God is greatest,” surged toward the Jamarat Bridge in Mina to throw stones at pillars representing the Devil. The ritual on the Id al-Adha feast day of sacrifice has caused stampedes in the past, and authorities said they had tried to avert disaster this year by urging people to perform the ceremony at varied times. Huge numbers of people were “pushing in the same direction,” which “resulted in the collapse of those next to the stoning area and those behind — that led to panic,” said the pilgrimage affairs minister, Iyad bin Amin Madani. Full Story

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