18 Hurt in Makkah Stampede

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RIYADH: Eighteen pilgrims were injured in a stampede near Islam’s holiest site Friday night, just over six months after hundreds lost their lives in a tragic stampede during the Hajj rituals.

The incident took place on Friday night near the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) in Makkah, which contains Islam’s holiest site, the Ka’aba, as Muslims gathered in large numbers to mark the Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Destiny), one of the high points of the holy fasting month of Ramazan, the al-Riyadh newspaper reported.

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

The incident came just over six months after a deadly crush claimed the lives of hundreds of pilgrims during last year’s Hajj.

The crush 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 Associated Press reported 2,400 people, lost their lives in the tragedy.

The tragedy at Mina came days after a massive construction crane collapsed into the Grand Mosque, killing more than 100 pilgrims.

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

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

The Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages bring millions of Muslims to the holy places in Saudi Arabia every year.

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