MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The crush, which left over 800 people injured, took place as hundreds of thousands of pilgrims streamed into the Mina Valley near Mecca to celebrate the Muslim religious holiday of Eid al-Adha.
"This incident could have been averted if the pilgrims had followed the instructions," Al-Falih told the Saudi Al Ekhbariya TV channel, adding that many of the pilgrims set out to perform the "stoning-of-the-devil" ritual without observing the schedule established by the organizers.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Naif ordered the establishment of an investigation commission to determine the reasons behind the deadly stampede, media reported Thursday.
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.
2/2 Praying for the injured in Mina stampede and for the safe return of all the Hajis.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) 24 сентября 2015
On September 11, a construction crane fell on the Grand Mosque in Mecca killing 107 people.