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    Death Toll in Haj Stampede Near Mecca Rises to 769

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    The death toll from a stampede at the annual Haj pilgrimage in the Saudi Arabian valley of Mina has risen to 769 people, the Saudi General Directorate of Civil Defense said Saturday, citing the country's Ministry of Health. According to previous reports, some 717 people were dead and 863 were injured.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Thursday, a crush occurred near Mecca, as hundreds of thousands of pilgrims gathered to celebrate the Muslim religious holiday of Eid al-Adha.

    "The Minister of Health at a press conference on the Mina valley incident [said that] the death toll had risen to 769, and a number of those injured had reached 934 people," the General Directorate of Civil Defense posted to its Twitter account.

    The Saudi Arabian interior ministry said the fatal stampede had been caused by two crowds of pilgrims colliding.

    Saudi Health Minister Khalid Al-Falih said that the tragedy was caused by the pilgrims’ behavior, as many of them ignored the organizers' schedule when heading to perform the "stoning-of-the-devil" ritual.

    Related:

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    stampede, Hajj, death toll, Saudi Arabia, Mecca
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