Pilgrims Injured in Makkah Stampede, Says Saudi Media

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Worshipers listen to a Friday sermon at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. Credit: SPA
Worshipers listen to a Friday sermon at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. Credit: SPA

RIYADH — Eighteen pilgrims have been injured in a stampede near Makkah, Saudi media reported on Saturday, as the kingdom continues to review safety after a deadly crush during last year’s Haj.

The incident happened on Friday night near the Grand Mosque in Makkah, the Al-Riyadh newspaper said, as people gathered in large numbers to mark the Laylat al-Qadr, one of the high points of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

All the injured were treated at the scene and none required admission to hospital, the newspaper cited a health official as saying.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims flock to Makkah to carry out the lesser Umra pilgrimage during Ramadan – especially during its last 10 days.

The incident comes as Saudi authorities continue to unveil new safety measures for this year’s Haj in September.

A crush at last year’s Haj killed more than 2,000 pilgrims in the worst disaster to ever strike the annual ritual.

According to figures from foreign officials, at least 2,297 pilgrims died. Saudi Arabia issued a death toll of 769.

Newspapers reported on Friday that, among new security measures, Haj pilgrims this year will have to wear an electronic safety bracelet to store their personal information, including address and medical records.

The Haj and Umra pilgrimages bring millions of Muslims to the holy places in Saudi Arabia every year.–AFP

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