Haj pilgrims begin rite which caused deadly crush

By REUTERS
September 12, 2016 13:52

JAMARAT, Saudi Arabia - Nearly two million Muslim pilgrims performed a symbolic stoning of the devil on Monday, the riskiest part of the annual haj pilgrimage, a year after the ritual's worst disaster in decades.

Saudi Arabia, which stakes its reputation on organizing the world's largest annual Muslim gathering, has deployed thousands of security forces, civil defense staff and volunteers as well as modern technology including drones and electronic bracelets to ensure a safe pilgrimage.

Last year, Saudi Arabia said that nearly 800 pilgrims were killed when two large groups of pilgrims arrived together at a crossroads in Mina, a few kilometers east of Mecca, on their way to performing the stoning ritual at Jamarat.

Counts by countries of repatriated bodies showed over 2,000 people may have died, more than 400 of them Iranians.


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