At least 18 pilgrims have been injured in a crush near Islam’s holiest site, Saudi media say, just over six months after hundreds lost their lives in a tragic stampede during the last year Hajj rituals.
The incident took place on Friday night near the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) in Mecca, 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 Ramadan, 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 Iranian officials say about 4,700 people, including more than 460 Iranians, lost their lives in the tragedy.
According to figures from foreign officials, more than 2,000 pilgrims died in the incident.
The tragedy came days after a massive construction crane collapsed into the Grand Mosque, killing more than 100 people.
According to the figures released by Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization, 11 Iranian pilgrims were among the deceased.
Iran has criticized Saudi’s incompetence in handling the Hajj rites for the tragic incidents.
As Saudi Arabia fell short of ensuring guarantees for the safety of pilgrims, Iran announced recently that it will not send pilgrims to this year’s Hajj. Iran’s decision came after Riyadh failed, following negotiations with Tehran, to address the Islamic Republic’s concerns regarding the safety and dignity of Iranian nationals participating in the Hajj pilgrimage.
The Hajj pilgrimage brings millions of Muslims to Saudi Arabia every year.