The number of the Iranian pilgrims killed at the recent crush in Saudi Arabia’s Mina has reached 131, an Iranian official says.
Saeed Ohadi, the head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization, made the announcement on Thursday night, adding that the number of the fatalities could rise.
He also said that the transfer to Tehran of the bodies as well as those who had sustained injury during the incident will start next week.
The incident occurred in Mina, near Mecca, at 9 am local time (0600 GMT) on Thursday after two large masses of pilgrims fused together.
Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization says the tragic incident claimed the lives of more than 1,300 people, including 131 Iranians. Saudi officials, however, put the death toll at 717.
Saudi Arabia has come under mounting criticism following the catastrophe.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has declared three days of national mourning following the disaster. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has also asked Riyadh to take responsibility for the disaster and fulfill its legal and Islamic obligations in this regard.
Arabic-language daily al-Diyar has said the presence of the convoy of Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, the son of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, in the middle of the population prompted a change in the direction of the movement of the pilgrims and the subsequent crush. It said Salman had sought to attend the huge gathering of pilgrims in Mina.
By Press TV