717 and possibly more Muslim pilgrims from around the world were killed in a stampede near the Muslim holy city of Mecca on Thursday. At least 863 others were seriously injured after 2 large groups of pilgrims arrived together at a crossroads in Mina, a few kilometres east of Mecca, on their way to the “stoning of the devil” at Jamarat.
The death toll is one of the worst disasters to strike the annual haj pilgrimage in 25 years. In July 1990, 1,426 pilgrims were suffocated in a tunnel near Mecca. Both tragedies occurred on Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice).
Images on Twitter and Instagram have showed pilgrims on stretchers and Saudi civil defence and emergency workers providing medical aid to stricken pilgrims. Some showed the bodies of pilgrims with horrific injuries being piled on top of one another.
Minister for Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim yesterday posted a condolence message expressing his sadness over the tragedy. He confirmed that all haj pilgrims from Singapore are safe and accounted for.
He wrote this Facebook post at 7.18PM yesterday: “I am saddened by the news of the stampede in Mina, where more than 300 deaths have been reported so far. I understand from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) that all our Singaporean pilgrims are accounted for and are safe, Alhamdulillah. Our deepest condolences to the families of those who perished. Let us pray for the recovery of those injured, and may all pilgrims be able to complete their Hajj safely and smoothly. #yaacobibrahim”