CAIRO: At least 50 Egyptian pilgrims were killed in a stampede while performing the pilgrimage rituals in Mecca last week, while 120 remain missing, the Awqaf (Religious Endowment) Minister Mokhtar Gomma has announced.
On Thursday, Gomma initially announced eight Egyptian pilgrims dead but the death toll rose to 14 on Friday while the Saudi Health Minister Khaled al-Falih announced Saturday the total death toll among pilgrims as 769, Youm7 reported.
The stampede occurred while nearly 2 million of pilgrims from all over the world were simultaneously performing the “stoning of the devil” ritual in Mena near Mecca.
Names of the deceased pilgrims were announced, Gomma said, adding that no verified reports on missing pilgrims have been submitted yet.
On Friday, the Foreign Ministry announced was “closely following” the condition of Egyptian pilgrims through its operation room, adding that it had assigned phone numbers to provide updated information on Egyptian pilgrims affected by the stampede. The numbers are; (0020)225772500 and (0020)225777101.
In a televised speech aired Thursday at the Saudi Al-Ekhbariya T.V. channel, Saudi Health Minister Khaled al-Falih blamed “lack of discipline and ignoring the Hajj instructions and timetables among pilgrims ” for the Thursday’s stampede.
On Sept. 11, two Egyptian pilgrims died from their injuries caused by a construction crane that collapsed in the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, announced the Egyptian Ministry of Health.
A total of 22 Egyptians were reportedly injured in the accident, which left 107 dead and an estimated 238 injured.
The Hajj, meaning pilgrimage, is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is the largest Muslim gathering through the year, during which deaths among pilgrims usually occur, mostly due to sudden health crises.