New Count Refutes Saudi's Claims on Death Toll in Hajj Crush
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The number of pilgrims killed in the Saudi Hajj disaster near the holy city of Mecca rose on to over 1,100 dead, according to an Associated Press count.
Saudi officials have said their official figure of 769 killed and 934 injured in Mina remains accurate, though an investigation into the Sept. 24 crush is ongoing.
The total figure could be even larger as the AP survey covered only 16 of the more than 180 countries that sent some 2 million pilgrims to the annual pilgrimage, a pillar of Islamic faith.
Saudi authorities have said the disaster in Mina happened as two waves of pilgrims converged on a narrow road, causing hundreds of people to suffocate or be trampled to death.
Even before this year’s Hajj began, disaster struck Mecca as a construction crane crashed into the Grand Mosque on Sept. 11, killing at least 111 people.
The AP count of the dead, which now is at least 1,112, includes countries that have offered formal statements through Hajj commissions or in state media broadcasts, saying specifically the deceased were killed in Mina.
Iran had 465 of its pilgrims killed, while Egypt had 146 and Indonesia 100.
Other countries that have given their death tolls are Pakistan with 75; Nigeria 64; Mali 60; India 58; Cameroon 42; Bangladesh 41; Algeria 18; Ethiopia 13; Chad 11; Kenya eight; Senegal five and Morocco and Turkey each with three. Hundreds remain missing.
The deadliest disaster to strike the Hajj was in 1990, when a stampede killed 1,426 people at an overcrowded pedestrian tunnel leading to holy sites in Mecca.
Saudi authorities have come under fire for incompetency in organizing the Hajj rites, with calls from some countries for the management of the event to be handed over to Muslim countries.