MINA, SAUDI ARABIA – The annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca went from a religious event to a hajj of horror in a matter of seconds.
Saudi Arabian authorities say a stampede during one of the last rituals of the hajj season killed more than 700 worshippers and injured at least 800.
This was the deadliest incident at Mina, just outside Mecca, since 1990 when more than 1,400 pilgrims died.
The stampede occurred during the ritual known as “Stoning the Devil,” a re-enactment of Abraham’s journey to mecca where Muslim tradition says he pelting the devil.
The first scenes were horrific. Bodies piled upon bodies. First responders desperately searching through the dead to look for survivors.
A spokesman for the interior ministry said the stampede occurred when two groups of pilgrims met at the intersection of two streets in the Mina tent city.
No one knows yet what caused the rush or for a large number of pilgrims to collapse.
Crown Prince Abdulaziz has ordered an inquiry.
This was also a deadly day for Muslims in Yemen thanks to terrorists who set off a bomb inside a crowded mosque in Sanaa.
At least 29 worshippers died as Islam’s holy day turned into a day of horror.