08:08 GMT +321 September 2019
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    Muslim pilgrims and rescuers gather around the victims of a stampede in Mina, Saudi Arabia during the annual hajj pilgrimage on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015

    Stampede Near Mecca Leaves 717 Dead, 863 Injured

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    Hundreds were killed during a stampede in Mina, near the Muslim holy city of Mecca, as two million people were performing the traditional haj pilgrimage, according to the Saudi Civil Security Service.

    At least 717 people lost their lives and 863 sustained injuries in a stampede that occurred on the third day of the annual Muslim haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. The tragedy took place in Mina some five kilometers away from Mecca during a ritual known as "stoning the devil" when Muslims throw stones at a rock, symbolically rejecting evil.

    Rescue operations are underway.

    Over two million people visit Mecca annually to perform haj, which is an obligation upon every Muslim.

    Mecca has suffered several similar stampede accidents. On July 2, 1990, a crush inside a tunnel from Mecca to Mina claimed the lives of 1,426 pilgrims, remaining the most violent incident to date. The latest major stampede occurred in 2006 killing at least 346 and injuring 289 people.

    Some 4,000 rescuers and over 220 ambulances were sent to handle the tragedy.

    On September 11, a construction crane fell on the Grand Mosque in Mecca killing 107 people.

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    Tags:
    Hajj, stampede, Islam, accident, religion, injured toll, casualties, Muslims, death toll, Mina, Mecca, Saudi Arabia
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