Hajj deaths 'almost triple' official Saudi toll

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An ambulance rushes to the site where pilgrims were crushed and trampled to death during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mina, Saudi Arabia, Thursday, 24 September 2015.Image source, AP
Image caption,
Pilgrims were crushed to death in Mina when two large crowds met

A crush near Mecca last month killed nearly three times as many people as Saudi Arabia has admitted, according to a tally by the Associated Press (AP).

AP said on Monday that at least 2,110 people died in the tragedy at the annual Hajj pilgrimage - far more than the official Saudi death toll of 769.

The new figure comes from media reports and statements from 30 countries who lost citizens, AP said.

The crush was the deadliest incident to strike the Hajj in 25 years.

Saudi officials have not updated their death toll - or the number of injured, which stands at 934 - since 25 September.

Iran says it lost 465 of its citizens, making it the worst affected nation. Many of the dead also came from Africa: Nigeria said it lost 199 people, while Mali lost 198, and Egypt 192, according to the AP count.

The AP tally comes after Saudi officials said they held a meeting about the disaster late on Sunday night.

According to the country's state press agency, SPA, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdul Aziz, who is also the kingdom's interior minister, oversaw the meeting.

An investigation into the incident ordered by King Salman in ongoing.

"The crown prince was reassured on the progress of the investigations," the SPA report said.

Previously, the deadliest incident at the Hajj was a 1990 stampede that killed 1,426 people.