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Saudi Arabia: World leaders voice condolences for deadly stampede

25th Sep 2015
Saudi Arabia: World leaders voice condolences for deadly stampede

ANKARA (AA) – Influential world figures have expressed their condolences for Thursday’s stampede near Mecca in Saudi Arabia that left more than 750 Hajj pilgrims dead and hundreds more injured.

According to a UN statement, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “was deeply saddened to learn of the death of more than 700 Hajj pilgrims and of injuries to many others as a result of the deadly incident.”

The UN added that Ban “extends his sincere condolences to the families of the victims and expresses his sympathies to all the governments concerned.”

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, responding to the tragic events in Saudi Arabia today, said: “I am shocked and saddened to hear of today’s events in Saudi Arabia. My thoughts are with the friends and families of all those affected as well as Muslims in Britain and around the world.”
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg likewise offered his condolences, saying in a statement: “I am saddened by the death of hundreds of people in a stampede near the Muslim holy city of Mecca.”

He added: “The fact that this incident occurred during celebrations of Eid al-Adha makes it even more tragic.”

The NATO chief went on to voice his admiration for “the hundreds of rescuers – volunteers and professionals – who are helping to save lives and relieve suffering” in the wake of the deadly stampede.

“I express my solidarity with Saudi King Salman [bin Abdulaziz Al Saud] at this difficult time,” Stoltenberg added.

Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Iran’s highest religious authority, also offered his condolences for Thursday’s accident, declaring three days of national mourning in Iran, according to the official Iranian Republic News Agency (IRNA).

According to IRNA, Khamenei went on to hold Saudi Arabian officials responsible for the deadly stampede.

“The Saudi government is obliged to accept its heavy responsibility for this bitter incident,” he said. “The mismanagement and improper measures that were behind this tragedy should not be ignored.”

According to Iran’s official IRINN television channel, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Emir Huseyin Abdullahiyan summoned Saudi Arabia’s acting ambassador in Tehran to explain the incident.

“We will raise an objection through diplomatic channels to address Saudi Arabia’s irresponsible practices,” Abdullahiyan was quoted as saying.

“We cannot be indifferent to such an irresponsible act,” he added.

On Thursday morning, more than 750 Hajj pilgrims were killed – and at least 800 injured – in a stampede that took place near Saudi Arabia’s city of Mecca.

The stampede occurred in the town of Mina, located roughly five kilometers east of Mecca, shortly after pilgrims had performed a ritual in which they threw stones at a structure representing the devil.

Thursday’s deadly crush came two weeks after 107 people were killed when a crane collapsed in Mecca’s Grand Mosque, which had been teeming with worshippers at the time of the accident.

According to Saudi figures, some 2 million Muslims from around the world are participating in this year’s Hajj pilgrimage.

MECCA, SAUDI ARABIA - SEPTEMBER 24: Ambulances are seen on a road after at least 753 Muslim Hajj pilgrims were killed – and at least another 450 injured – in a stampede that took place near the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia on September 24, 2015. The stampede occurred in the town of Mina, located roughly five kilometers east of Mecca, as pilgrims performed a ritual in which they threw stones at a structure representing the devil. (Özkan Bilgin - Anadolu Agency)
[Photo: Ambulances are seen on a road after stampeded in Mina, near the city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia on September 24, 2015.  (Özkan Bilgin – Anadolu Agency)]
 

Author: Hatice Vildan Topaloğlu and The Muslim News
[Photo: Dead pilgrims after stampede in Mina, near Makkah, Saudi Arabia, 24 Sep 2015.  Photographer: Kuwaiti pilgrim/The Muslim News]

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