At least 717 people were killed and another 863 were injured in a stampede this morning at a Hajj pilgrimage near the Islamic holy city of Mecca. The incident, which the BBC reports is the deadliest at the Hajj in 25 years, comes just 13 days after a crane collapsed into Mecca’s Grand Mosque, killing 109.
The Saudi civil defence directorate said in a statement that the stampede occurred at around 06:00 (09:00 GMT) at the junction of Street 204 and Street 223, as pilgrims walked towards the five-storey structure which surrounds the pillars, known as the Jamarat Bridge.
The incident happened when there was a “sudden increase” in the number of pilgrims heading towards the pillars, the statement said.
This “resulted in a stampede among the pilgrims and the collapse of a large number of them”, it added.
Thousands of rescue workers and hundreds of ambulances have been sent to Mina, according to Saudi officials, who expect the death toll to rise.