King Salman Orders Review Of Hajj Plan - A Look At The Worst Stampedes During Hajj: Despite Accidents Pilgrims On Hajj Show No Fear
26 September 2015
Saud King Salman on
Thursday in a televised speech offered his condolences after more than 700
people were killed in a stampede during the Hajj pilgrimage in Makkah
earlier, and said he has ordered a review of the country's pilgrimage plan.
The king also said he had requested a swift investigation into what he
described as a painful incident where at least 863 others were injured in the
crush at a crossroad on Street 204 at the camp city in Mina, a few kilometers
east of Makkah.
At a press conference before sunset prayers, Saudi Interior Ministry
spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki told reporters that the street at which
the stampede took place ''witnessed unprecedented high number of pilgrims''
compared to previous years.
Turki said the investigation would look into what caused an unusual density
of pilgrims to congregate at the location of the disaster. ''The reason for
that is not known yet,'' he told a news conference in Mina.
A Look At The Worst Stampedes During Hajj
The deadly stampede at the Haj in Mina on Thursday has become the second
worst in a number of tragedies to strike the pilgrimage, surpassed only by a
tunnel stampede 25 years ago.
As of the latest count
by the Directorate for Civil Defense, the death toll in Thursday's stampede
has jumped to 717 and 865 more were injured, some critically.
The worst ever was in July 2, 1990, when pilgrims stampeded in a tunnel at
Mina after a ventilation system failure, 1,426 pilgrims, mainly from Asia.
Third worst was in July 31, 1987, when Saudi security forces suppressed
rampaging Iranian pilgrims. More than 400 people, including 275 Iranians were
killed, according to an official toll.
Coming in fourth was another stampede on January 12, 2006, killing 364
pilgrims during the stoning ritual in Mina. Six days before that, 76 people
died when a hotel collapsed in downtown Makkah.
uncanny similarity, this year's stampede was also preceded by another tragedy
in Makkah. A total of 111 and more than 400 people, including foreign
pilgrims, were killed when a crane collapsed on the circumambulation area of
the Grand Mosque amid strong winds and heavy rain on September 11.
The fifth worst was on April 15 when a fire caused by a gas stove ripped
through a camp housing pilgrims at Mina, killing 343 and injuring around
Below is a timeline compiled by Agence France Presse (AFP) of significant
incidents during the annual event, which draws around two million Muslim
faithful from around the world.
September 24: A stampede during the ''stoning of the devil'' ritual in Mina
leaves at least 717 pilgrims dead and over 860 injured.
September 11: 109 people are killed and hundreds injured, including many
foreigners, when a crane collapses on Makkah's Grand Mosque after strong
winds and heavy rain.
January 6: 76 people die when a hotel collapses in the city center.
January 12: 364 pilgrims are killed in a stampede during the stoning ritual
in Mina. The ritual involves Haj participants throwing pebbles at three
headstones, symbolizing their rejection of Satan.
January 22: Three pilgrims are crushed to death in a stampede at the stoning
ceremony in Mina.
February 1: 251 people are killed in a stampede at Mina, also at the stoning
of the devil.
February 11: 14 faithful, including six women, die on the first day of the
March 5: 35 pilgrims, including 23 women, die at the ritual in Mina.
April 9: More than 118 people are killed and 180 injured in a stampede at
April 15: A fire caused by a gas stove rips through a camp housing pilgrims
at Mina, killing 343 and injuring around 1,500.
May 7: Three people die and 99 are injured when a fire breaks out at the Mina
May 24: 270 people are killed in a stampede during the stoning, an incident
authorities attribute to ''record numbers'' of pilgrims at the site.
July 2: A huge stampede in a tunnel at Mina after a failure in its
ventilation system kills 1,426 pilgrims, mainly from Asia.
July 10: A twin attack on the outside of the Grand Mosque kills one and
wounds 16. Sixteen Kuwaiti Shiites are found guilty of the crime and executed
July 31: Saudi security forces suppress an unauthorized protest held by
Iranian pilgrims. More than 400 people, including 275 Iranians are killed,
according to an official toll.
November 20: Hundreds of gunmen opposed to the Saudi government barricade
themselves inside the Grand Mosque, taking dozens of pilgrims hostage. The
official toll of the assault and subsequent fighting is 153 people dead and
December: A huge fire started by a gas cannister exploding in a pilgrim camp
close to Makkah kills 200 people.
Despite Accidents Pilgrims On Hajj Show No Fear
The series of recent unfortunate events in Saudi Arabia have not scared off
Muslims from undertaking the Hajj pilgrimage, one of the key tenets of the
Since pilgrims started to arrive at the holy city of Makkah last week, the
kingdom has registered over 1.3 million people taking part so far.
''Saudi Arabia is doing an amazing job, and it is doing its best to ensure a
safe and enjoyable trip to all pilgrims,'' Aziz Haddou, the president of the
French association for Hajj and Umrah (an optional pilgrimage performed by
some Muslims), told Al Arabiya News.
''Now some people may be scared and fear other similar incidents, and that is
normal,'' Haddou said, ''but the incidents have probably not in any case
influenced the number of Muslims traveling from Europe.''
This year's pilgrimage comes as Saudi Arabia faces various challenges.
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) attacks on mosques in the kingdom have
killed dozens of people over the last few months.
The country also faces a new transmission of the deadly Middle East
Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS) among pilgrims, which over the last
few years has killed 520 people.