The tragic accident took place on Friday and left at least 107 pilgrims dead and injured 238 others. (Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Despite a crane collapse that killed at least 107 pilgrims in Mecca’s Grand Mosque on Friday, this year’s Hajj pilgrimage will go ahead, Saudi government officials said on Saturday.
The tragic accident took place on Friday as worshippers gathered for Friday prayers, which left at least 107 pilgrims dead and injured 238 others, according to reports.
The Grand Mosque, also known as Masjid al-Haraam, is the largest mosque in the world and surrounds Kaaba, the holiest religious site for Muslims.
Suleiman al-Amr, the head of Saudi’s civil defence authority, said strong winds as a result of storm caused the disaster. He said the rescue teams were immediately sent to the mosque.
Suleiman al-Amr, the head of Saudi’s civil defence authority, said strong winds as a result of storm caused the disaster. He said the rescue teams were immediately sent to the mosque
Irfan al-Alawi, co-founder of the Mecca-based Islamic Heritage Research Foundation, blamed authorities of negligence. “They do not care about the heritage, and they do not care about health and safety,” he told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
With world leaders coming forward to offer their condolences, a probe into the accident has been ordered by Prince Khaled al-Faisal, the governor of Mecca.
Soon after the accident took place on Friday, social media was replete with pictures and videos showing pilgrims lying on the blood-stained floor, surrounded by debris.
Abdel Aziz Naqoor, who works at the mosque, told AFP that he saw the crane falling after being hit by the storm.
“If it weren’t for al-Tawaf bridge, the injuries and deaths would have been worse,” he said, referring to a walkway that surrounds the Ka’bah.
Millions of Muslims from across the world, including from Afghanistan, converge in the holy city of Mecca for annual Hajj pilgrimage every year
Millions of Muslims from across the world, including from Afghanistan, converge in the holy city of Mecca for annual Hajj pilgrimage every year.
It is not the first such accident during pilgrimage time. In 2006, a stampede resulted in the death of 350 pilgrims. In the same year, at least 76 people were killed after a building collapsed. In 2004, more than 200 people were killed in another stampede.
The grand mosque, which houses the Ka’bah, is surrounded by a number of cranes because of the ongoing construction work to enlarge the mosque by 400,000 sq m, which will accommodate up to 2.2 million pilgrims every year. The work was expected to be complete before the pilgrimage commences from September 22.
The Saudi Press Agency said that almost 800,000 pilgrims had arrived by Friday for the annual pilgrimage. Last year, around two million pilgrims had come for the pilgrimage.
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