Mina: Shaken by the saddening demise of more than 700 people, including 136 Iranians, Iran has vowed to take international legal action against Saudi Arabia’s rulers over the crush of pilgrims during this year’s Hajj.
The stampede, that occurred on September 24 following two large groups of pilgrims arrived at a crossroad in Mina, killed at least 769 people and left more than 934 injured and is considered as worst disaster ever happened in past 25 years.
Saudi health minister Khalid al-Falih had informed the media persons that the death toll had risen significantly because a number of people lost their lives in the hospitals.
According to Iran, among the deceased, at least 136 were Iranians, while more than 300 other Iranians remain unaccounted for, including former ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi.
“We will urge international courts and circles to start the trial of the Saudis for their crimes against Hajj pilgrims,” said Iran’s Prosecutor General Ebrahim Raisi on Saturday, adding, “This is not incompetence, it’s a crime.”
He has alleged that Saudi authorities had blocked a road used by Hajj pilgrims to allow a royal convoy to pass through, which subsequently led to the convergence. However, Saudi authorities have completely rubbished the claims.
Iran’s foreign ministry also summoned the Saudi charge d’affaires for a third time in three days to mark their protest about Riyadh’s handling of the disaster.
It is to tell you that September 26 was the last day of Hajj and pilgrims from all across the globe had gathered there to pass through Mina.
Samar Zaki, 37, a Syrian pilgrim, said there were times when she was in the midst of very large crowds that she worried for her safety. “There are times when it is challenging,” she said. “I saw [news] about the accident that took place and it made us all very upset.”
Speaking to the country’s Crown Prince Mohamed bin Nayef, Saudi Arabia’s top cleric Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin-Abdullah al-Sheikh said he did not hold authorities responsible for the disaster.
“You are not responsible for what happened. You dealt with the beneficial factors that were in your hands and within your ability. Fate and destiny are inevitable.”