India

Hajj stampede: India and Pakistan death toll rises

Aerial view of the walkway leading to the pillars where pilgrims throw stones at pillars representing the devil in Mina (5 October 2014) Image copyright AFP
Image caption The incident occurred as pilgrims walked towards the Jamarat Bridge, where the pillars are located

The number of Indians killed in the stampede near the Muslim holy city of Mecca has risen to 35, India's foreign ministry has said.

They were among the 769 people who died in Thursday's incident at Mina, which occurred as two million pilgrims were taking part in the Hajj's last major rite.

At least 18 Pakistani have also died in the stampede.

It is the deadliest incident to occur during the pilgrimage in 25 years.

Thursday's incident was also the second disaster to strike Mecca in two weeks, after a crane collapsed at the Grand Mosque, killing 109 people on 11 September.

India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted that Saudi authorities have released photos of pilgrims who died in Thursday's stampede.

She said embassy officials are "providing all help to families" of the victims.

In a statement Pakistan's Ministry of Religious Affairs issued the names of 18 pilgrims who have so far been confirmed dead in the stampede, amid fears that the toll may rise.

A local news channel, however, reported that the toll has reached 23.

The crush occurred on Thursday morning as two million pilgrims were taking part in the Hajj's last major rite.

The pilgrims throw seven stones at pillars called Jamarat, which stand at the place where Satan is believed to have tempted the Prophet Abraham.

With temperatures around 46C, two massive lines of pilgrims converged on each other at right angles at an intersection close to the five-storey Jamarat Bridge in Mina, a large valley about 5km (3 miles) from Mecca.

Hajj: Previous tragedies

2006: 364 pilgrims die in a crush at foot of Jamarat Bridge in Mina

1997: 340 pilgrims are killed when fire fuelled by high winds sweeps through Mina's tent city

1994: 270 pilgrims die in a stampede during the stoning ritual

1990: 1,426 pilgrims, mainly Asian, die in a stampede in an overcrowded tunnel leading to holy sites

1987: 402 people die when security forces break up an anti-US demonstration by Iranian pilgrims

Timeline: Deadliest stampedes

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