Saudi Arabia says ‘still looking into’ 2015 Hajj tragedy

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Saudi Arabia says it is still reviewing the deaths of thousands of people nine months after a deadly crush during Hajj near the holy city of Mecca.

“We already studied that and we are continuing to study this,” Minister of Hajj Mohammed Bentin said on the sidelines of a press conference in the Red Sea city of Jeddah on Tuesday.

“God willing, we’ll have many preventive measures and procedures that…will not repeat what happened last time,” he said. 

The crush of last year occurred after two large masses of pilgrims converged at a crossroads in Mina during the symbolic ceremony of the stoning of Satan in Jamarat on September 24, 2015.

Saudi Arabia claims nearly 770 people were killed in the incident, but Iranian officials say about 4,700 people lost their lives in the tragedy.

The number of the Iranian fatalities is at least 464, exceeding that of other countries.

Following the disaster, Saudi King Salman even praised Saudi authorities for holding a “successful” Hajj.

Saudi Arabia has come under harsh criticism over its handling of the Mina incident.

The tragedy came days after a massive construction crane collapsed into Mecca’s Grand Mosque, killing more than 100 people and leaving over 200 others wounded.

According to the figures released by Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization, 11 Iranian pilgrims were among the deceased and 32 of the injured were also Iranian nationals.

Iran says Riyadh’s incompetence in handling safety at the rituals caused the deadly incident.

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