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No Iranians among Saudi Arabia's Mina stampede victims: official

Riyadh, Jan 13, IRNA-Abdollah Nassiri, public relations manager of Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization, said in Mecca Thursday all Iranian pilgrims are in good health and none of his fellow countrymen was injured and died at the Mina stampede.

Nassiri, in his talk with IRNA reporter, added the Iranian medical team has announced that no Iranian pilgrims were among the victims.

"The medical team is making every effort to identify the victims of the incident occurred over Mina's Jamarat Bridge Thursday," he added.

Media reports put the minimum number of pilgrims, who were trampled to death, at 345 and the injured at 289.

The witnesses, however, believed the toll was much higher.

A great number of pilgrims were trampled over during the stoning ceremony in Mina in eastern holy city of Mecca on the final day of Hajj as they were stoning three walls in a symbolic casting out of the devil and rejection of temptation.

The latest reports released by the hospitals in Mina Friday said the death toll may soar to 350 and the number of injured may exceed 300.

Saudi Minister of Health Hamad bin Abdallah al-Manai blamed those pilgrims, who insisted on carrying their bulky luggage to the stoning site.

Most of the victims were reported to be Saudi, Indian, Pakistani, Egyptian, and Yemeni pilgrims.

The Mina tragedy took place, while a fortnight ago a multistory building near Masjid al-Haram caved in, leaving 76 dead and 62 injured.

In 2004, destruction of some part of Jamarat bridge claimed the lives of 244 pilgrims mainly of Asian origins.

... Payvand News - 1/13/06 ... --

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