Iran’s ex-envoy still missing after Hajj tragedy: Official

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The body of Ghazanfar Roknabadi, the former Iranian ambassador to Lebanon, has not been found among the country’s Hajj pilgrims killed in the deadly crush of people in Mina, Saudi Arabia, the deputy head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization announced on Tuesday.

“Still the status of 65 Iranians, who have lost their lives in the Mina disaster, is not clear and we are conducting operations to identify the bodies of the loved ones,” Hamid Mohammadi told the Tasnim News Agency on Tuesday.

He said the bodies of 87 other Iranian nationals killed in Mina have been transferred to the country this morning, adding that they have been identified and their death has been announced to their families.

Mohammadi went on to say that the body of the reporter of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), who also went missing after the crush, is among the bodies repatriated this morning, adding that Roknabadi is still unaccounted for.

According to Iranian officials, about 4,700 pilgrims, including 464 Iranians, were killed in the crush in Mina on September 24 when performing religious rites. With the death toll rising, many pilgrims are still unaccounted for in the incident that marked the worst Hajj disaster in 25 years.

The incident came nearly two weeks after tens of Hajj pilgrims were killed in another tragic incident in Mecca.

On September 11, a massive construction crane crashed into Mecca’s Grand Mosque in stormy weather, killing at least 107 people, including 11 Iranians, and injuring 201 others.

Saudi authorities have come under fire for their inability to ensure the safety of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who converge on Mecca every year.

By Tasnim News Agency