Iran says 131 nationals among hajj stampede dead

AFP , Friday 25 Sep 2015

In this image released by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims make their way to cast stones at a pillar symbolizing the stoning of Satan in a ritual called "Jamarat," the last rite of the annual hajj, on the first day of Eid al-Adha, in Mina on the outskirts of the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. (Photo:AP)

A total of 131 Iranians were among more than 700 pilgrims killed in a stampede at the annual hajj, the head of the country's pilgrimage organisation said on Friday.

Said Ohadi told the official IRNA news agency that the death toll could rise as 60 Iranians were also injured in Thursday's crush, the worst tragedy to strike the hajj in a quarter of a century.

Iranian leaders have been deeply critical of the Saudi authorities over what they charge were flawed crowd control measures.

"The government of Saudi Arabia must accept the huge responsibility for this catastrophe," Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said.

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