700 people killed at Hajj pilgrimage – level 3
King Salman has ordered a safety review into the Hajj pilgrimage after a crush outside the Muslim holy city of Mecca killed over 700 people. The Saudi King also called for a swift investigation into the incident in which 863 pilgrims were injured.
“We have instructed the concerned bodies to investigate this tragic incident and provide us with the result as soon as possible. It will not reduce the importance of security force efforts to help the pilgrims in practising the ritual.
Regardless of the investigation results, the improvement of the methods and mechanisms of the Hajj season will not stop. We have instructed the concerned entities to re-evaluate the current policy and the distribution of responsibilities.”
The disaster occurred when two large groups of people arrived together at a crossroads in Mina on their way to performing the “stoning of the devil” ritual at Jamarat. The Saudi Health Minister said the crush occurred because too many people moved “without respecting the timetables” established by authorities.
It’s the deadliest incident to occur at the pilgrimage since July 1990, when 1,426 pilgrims suffocated in a tunnel near Mecca. The incident is the second disaster to strike the holy site in two weeks, after a crane collapsed at the Grand Mosque, killing 109 people.
Difficult words: pilgrimage (a journey to a holy place), crush (a crowd of people pressed closely together), swift (quick), concerned (involved), body (an office), entity (a politically organised body of people), re-evaluate (to evaluate – to judge how good, useful, or successful something is – again), suffocate (to be without air).
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