Saudi Arabia says 453 pilgrims dead in hajj stampede - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Saudi Arabia says 453 pilgrims dead in hajj stampede


MECCA, Saudi Arabia (AP) -- Saudi Arabia's civil defense directorate says at least 453 people were killed in a stampede on the outskirts of the holy city of Mecca during the annual hajj pilgrimage.

   Thursday's crush happened in Mina, a large valley about five kilometers (three miles) from Mecca that has been the site of hajj stampedes in years past.
   Mina is where pilgrims carry out a symbolic stoning of the devil by throwing pebbles against three stone columns.

   The Saudi civil defense directorate says the stampede occurred in a morning surge of pilgrims at the intersection of streets 204 and 223 as the faithful were making their way toward a large structure overlooking the columns. It says at least 719 other pilgrims were injured in the stampede.

   Some 2 million people are taking part in this year's hajj pilgrimage, which began Tuesday.

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