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Updated: 717 Pilgrims Killed in Mecca Stampede During Hajj

Updated: 717 Pilgrims Killed in Mecca Stampede During Hajj

Photo released by Saudi Authorities from the scene.
Photo released by Saudi Authorities from the scene.

More than 717 people taking part in the annual Hajj died in a stampede near Mecca, Saudi Arabia Officials stated.

The Civil Defense Authority announced that over 719 other people were injured in the stampede that took place at Mina.

Two million Muslims are expected to take part in the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca this year.

This incident follows another deadly incident that took place earlier this month when a crane collapsed in Mecca’s Grand Mosque resulting in the deaths of 109 people.

According to Saudi Authorities, more than 200 emergency and rescue units have been sent to the area of the stampede. Victims of the stampede are from a number of ‘different nationalities,’ said the Saudi Civil Defense Authority.

The cause behind the stampede has not been revealed but Saudi Health Minister Khaled Al-Falih stated that the incident could have been avoided “if the pilgrims had followed instructions.”

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry has said it is following the reports closely as to identify whether any Egyptians are among the victims.

This is not the first deadly incident in Mecca during Hajj. In 2006, 364 pilgrims were killed in another stampede. In 1997, 343 pilgrims were killed and 1,500 injured when a fire erupted. In 1994, 270 pilgrims were killed in a stampede and in 1990 more than 1,400 were killed.

According to Al-Arabiya, a press conference will be held following Maghreb prayers at sunset.

This story is developing.

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