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Published on 26 Sep 2015 | about 1 year ago

MINA — Pilgrims somberly resumed the stoning ritual on Friday a day after a horrific stampede which killed 719 Hajis and injured 863 others.

Pilgrims flocked to the Jamarat area to stone the three walls symbolizing Satan, the minor followed by the middle and then the big.

In his Friday sermon at the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Sheikh Saleh Al-Taleb said the Kingdom “is capable of managing Haj affairs.”

“It is unacceptable to ignore all the efforts” the Kingdom has made to improve infrastructure at the holy sites, he said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki said “a large number of pilgrims were in motion at the same time” at an intersection of two streets in Mina.

“The great heat and fatigue of the pilgrims contributed to the large number of victims,” he said.

“Yesterday’s stampede was a catastrophe. We were shocked, but we can do nothing, this was their fate,” said Lolo Omar, a pilgrim from Eritrea.

Omar, like the pilgrims involved in Thursday’s disaster, was headed toward the Jamarat complex.

Among the 719 killed in Mina were pilgrims from Iran, Egypt, Turkey, India and Pakistan.

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Haj and Religious Affairs said Friday that eight Afghan pilgrims were still missing.

In Islamabad, the Pakistani Ministry of Religious Affairs said seven Pakistanis were dead and six were injured.

A Pakistani Haj official Abu Ahmed Akif in Saudi Arabia was quoted as saying that 236 Pakistani pilgrims were missing.

Authorities in Indonesia, said Friday at least three Indonesian pilgrims were dead.

Kenyan officials say three of the dead are from their country. Egypt’s Religious Endowments Minister Muhammad Mokhtar Gomaa told the MENA news agency the death toll for his country had risen to 14.

He said another 30 Egyptians were injured. Indian authorities said 14 Indians were killed in the crush. The Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency reported that four Turks were killed and five remain missing.

Iran said 131 of its nationals were among the victims. Egyptian survivor Wael Abdullah said he had reached Mina Thursday when he saw people pushing and shoving to get past one another down one of the narrow streets. People tripped over those in wheelchairs, who also fell to the ground.

“I saw people falling on the ground, other people trampling them... and the situation was out of control,” he said.

The street where the incident took place is about 12 meters (36 feet) wide and lined with barricades, behind which are some of the tents of Haj tour groups, organized by nationality.

“There was no room to manoeuvre,” said Aminu Abubakar, an AFP correspondent who was among the pilgrims. He escaped the crush of bodies because he was at the head of a procession. — With agencies

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