Egypt to use DNA samples to identify Mecca corpses

Ahram Online , Friday 2 Oct 2015

Egypt's health minister hopes to identify corpses of hajj pilgrims by using DNA from 'citizens who have lost contact with their families on the pilgrimage'

Medical personnel tend to a wounded pilgrim following a crush caused by large numbers of people pushing at Mina, outside the Muslim holy city of Mecca September 24, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's health minister plans to take DNA samples from the families of missing Egyptians who travelled to Mecca to do hajj, and to use the samples to identify corpses there.

“Any citizens who have lost contact with their families on the pilgrimage, or who don't know their whereabouts, should go on Monday to Cairo’s Nasser Institute to supply samples,” said Khaled Sultan, a government official in charge of coordinating the NGOs that arrange hajj expeditions, as reported by state-owned news agency MENA on Friday.

So far 126 Egyptians have been confirmed as killed in the Mecca stampede, according to a Thursday statement by Egypt’s official pilgrimage delegation.

Ninety-one Egyptian fatalities were identified by the official Egyptian delegation, 20 by the Saudi authorities and three by the Egyptian consulate in Jeddah.

The stampede occurred on Wednesday 23 September as pilgrims converged in Mena, just outside Mecca, to take part in a ritual concerning the symbolic stoning of the devil.

Figures released on Saturday by Saudi authorities place the total death toll at 769, with at least 934 injured.

Almost two million pilgrims took part in the stoning ritual this year, with an estimated 62,000 Egyptians performing hajj in 2015.

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