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Stampede kills 310 pilgrims near Mecca

Stampede kills 310 pilgrims near MeccaThe death toll from a stampede during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mina, a neighborhood near Saudi Arabia’s Mecca, has risen to 310, in the second disaster to strike Islam’s holiest city this month.

Saudi Arabia’s Civil Defense Directorate said that 440 others were injured in the crush on Thursday. Pictures posted on its Twitter account showed pilgrims being treated on stretchers and being put into ambulances near the tent city.

Earlier this month, a crane operated by the Saudi Binladin Group collapsed at Mecca’s Grand Mosque, killing more than 100 people. The company said the accident was caused by strong winds. It has been barred from taking on new projects in the kingdom pending an investigation.

Saudi Arabia hosts millions of Muslim pilgrims during the Hajj. As the fifth and final pillar of Islam, every able-bodied adult Muslim must undertake a pilgrimage to Mecca, birthplace of the Prophet Mohammad, at least once in their lives.

There have been a number of stampedes during the pilgrimage over the years, including in 2006, when 362 died.

Source: Bloomberg
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