Death toll among Egyptian Hajj pilgrims reaches 20

Ahram Online, Saturday 4 Oct 2014

Muslim pilgrims pray at Jabal Al Rahma holy mountain, or the mountain of forgiveness, during the annual pilgrimage, known as the hajj, near Mecca, Saudi Arabia (Photo: AP)

The number of Egyptians killed during this year's Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca reached 20 on Saturday, an Egyptian interior ministry official said.

The two most recent casualties were two Egyptian women who both died from a drop in blood pressure, interior minister's aide Shaker El-Kayyal told state news agency MENA on Saturday.

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims from around the globe travel to Saudi Arabia every year to perform the annual Hajj pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca The Hajj begun this year on Thursday.

Dozens of pilgrims die during the Hajj every year, with many deaths taking place among the elderly, often due to fatigue or caused by crowd stampedes at religious sites.

One of the five major pillars of Islam, Hajj must be performed at least once in a lifetime by all Muslims who can afford the costly and difficult trip.

Saudi Arabia said last week it had received over a million pilgrims from overseas, according to the Saudi News Agency.

Nearly two million pilgrims performed Hajj in 2013, with roughly a third from inside Saudi Arabia.

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