Saudi Arabia’s King Salman said he had ordered a review of the kingdom’s plans for the annual hajj pilgrimage after 717 pilgrims were killed in stampede near Mecca.
Speaking in a live speech broadcast by Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television, he said he had asked for a swift investigation into what he described as a painful incident.
At least 805 other victims were injured near Islam’s holiest city, in the worst disaster to strike the annual hajj for 25 years.
It is feared the casualties will include some of the 20,000 British Muslims making the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, alongside almost two million from across the world.
Saudi Arabia ambassador Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf Al-Saud said it is still unclear if any British nationals are among the dead or injured.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families of the tragic accident that occurred at Mina today during hajj,” he said.
Over 700 people died today in Hajj stampede in Mecca. Thousands were walking to the ‘stoning of the devil’ ritual when a sudden surge in the crowd caused many to fall. What caused the surge is not known. It’s the worse since 1990. AFP just released some gruesome photos from the incident.