TEHRAN: A total of 131 Iranians were among more than 700 pilgrims killed in a stampede at the annual Haj, the head of the country’s pilgrimage organisation said on Friday.
Said Ohadi told the official IRNA news agency that the death toll could rise as 60 Iranians were also injured in Thursday’s crush, the worst tragedy to strike the Haj in a quarter of a century.
Iranian leaders have been deeply critical of the Saudi authorities over what they charge were flawed crowd control measures.
“The government of Saudi Arabia must accept the huge responsibility for this catastrophe,” Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said.
Also read: Witnesses blame Saudi officials for Haj horror
14 Indians, 4 Turks among dead in Mina stampede
Authorities say at least 14 Indians and four Turks were killed in the Haj crush at Mina.
At least 13 Indians were injured in the Mina stampede, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Twitter, adding that Indian volunteers are aiding local officials.
The Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency reported that five Turks remain missing Friday.
At least 717 pilgrims were killed and 863 others injured on Thursday in a stampede during Haj rites in Mina, outside Makkah, Saudi authorities said. It is the worst disaster to strike the annual pilgrimage in 25 years.
The tragedy occurred when two large groups of pilgrims arrived together at a crossroads on their way to performing the symbolic stoning of the devil, the Saudi civil defence directorate said.