Death Toll from Mecca Hajj Stampede Exceeds 450 PeopleWorld | September 24, 2015, Thursday // 14:54| views
A picture made available by the Directorate of the Saudi Civil Defense Agency via its official Twitter account of pilgrims receiving first aid after a stampede in Mina, near Mecca, Saudi Arabia, 24 September 2015. EPA/DIRECTORATE OF THE SAUDI CIVIL DEFENS
The death toll from the stampede, which occurred earlier on Thursday during the annual Hajj pilgrimage to the Islamic holy city of Mecca, has risen to at least 453 people.
Another 719 people have been injured in the incident, which took place in the neighbourhood of Mina as two million pilgrims were taking part in the last major ritual of the Hajj - the Stoning of the Devil.
Saudi Arabia has sent 4000 personnel from its civil defence directorate along with more than 220 emergency and rescue units to the site of the incident.
The wounded are being sent to four hospitals in the area, with the death toll expected to rise.
The victims were of different nationalities with many pilgrims from Niger feared to be among the dead.
At this point, the civil defence directorate did not identify the possible cause of the stampede.
Most likely it took place when a group of people started walking to another group sitting on the floor.
According to Al Jazeera, the incident occurred at the tents erected on Street 204 rather than at the site where the Stoning of the Devil ritual is performed.
This has been the deadliest stampede at the Hajj since 2006 when more than 360 pilgrims were killed.
Despite the efforts of Saudi authorities to improve safety measures, stampedes and other incidents resulting from the mass gathering of people continue to take place.
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