Stampede kills more than 700 Hajj pilgrims

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN File Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The UN Secretary-General has expressed his condolences following a deadly stampede that killed more than 700 people taking part in the Hajj pilgrimage.

More than 850 others were reportedly injured in the disaster near the Islamic holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Veronica Reeves has the story.

The stampede is being called the deadliest incident to take place during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in 25 years. 

It happened as more than two million pilgrims descended on the Muslim holy lands to participate in what is called the "stoning of the devil" ritual.

Stéphane Dujarric is Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General and said the UN chief had expressed his condolences to the family and friends of the victims.

"This tragic incident is all the more distressing as it took place on the first day of the holy Eid Al-Adha, marking the end of the annual Hajj season."

The stampede is the second disaster to strike Mecca in as many weeks.  A crane collapsed at the Grand Mosque on 11 September, killing 109 people.

Veronica Reeves, United Nations.

Duration: 44″

 

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