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Egypt's Al-Azhar mourns Saudi Hajj stampede victims

25 settembre 2015 | 12.46
LETTURA: 2 minuti

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Egypt's Al-Azhar mosque has sent condolences to Saudi Arabia over the deaths of at least 717 pilgrims on Thursday in a stampede outside the holy city of Mecca during the Hajj pilgrimage.

The mosque's imam, Ahmad al-Tayyib, expressed "the greatest sadness" over the tragedy in a message to Saudi Arabia's leader King Salman, calling the pilgrims who died "martyrs".

"The most sincere condolences are offered to Saudi Arabia's monarch King Salman and to the entire Muslim community and their families," said the message.

At least eight Egyptian pilgrims were killed in the stampede and over 30 were injured, according to Egypt's religious affairs minister Mokhtar Gomaa.

A total of 868 people were injured in the crush in Mina, which occurred as two million pilgrims were taking part in the annual Hajj pilgrimage's last last major rite.

As part of the Hajj, pilgrims travel to Mina, a large valley about 5 kilometres from Mecca, to throw seven stones at pillars called Jamarat, which represent the devil. The pillars stand where Satan is believed to have tempted the Prophet Abraham.

Salman has ordered a probe of the crush, which occurred after two massive lines of pilgrims converged on each other from different direction at an intersection close to the five-storey Jamarat Bridge in Mina.

It was the deadliest incident to occur during the pilgrimage in 25 years and the second disaster to strike in two weeks, after a crane collapsed at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killing 109 people.

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