399 Hajj victims’ bodies transported

Tehran, Oct 11, IRNA – Head of the Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization, Saeed Ohadi said on Sunday that so far 399 Iranian Hajj victims’ bodies have been transported back to Iran and added that another two bodies of missing pilgrims have been recovered.

Ohadi told IRNA that 65 others are still missing. He added that search and recovery operations are still underway in two mortuaries of Jeddah and Mecca.

He said photographs have been taken of dead bodies in mortuaries and belongings of a number of victims have been collected in hopes of gaining latest information about them.

He went on to say that arrangements are underway to ensure transfer of 87 victims by tomorrow.

The official said the last group of Iranian Hajj victims were transported from Mecca on Monday and Iranian officials will try to assist the search teams until the last moment.

The disaster occurred on September 24 when according to reports two large groups of pilgrims arrived together at a crossroads in Mina, a few kilometers east of Mecca, on their way to perform the ‘stoning of the devil’ ritual at Jamarat. A deadly stampede followed soon afterwards.

The event served to raise the name of Hajj victims in the world and initiated a wave of condemnation of the incompetence and mismanagement of the Saudi officials in administrating Muslims’ largest annual ritual.

Some 464 Iranian pilgrims have been confirmed dead and 65 are missing, but the Hajj and Pilgrimage Organizations considers the later among the dead.