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Report: Hajj Stampede Toll Climbs to 1,453

  • VOA News

Iranian men load the coffin of a dead hajj pilgrim who was killed in a deadly stampede in Mina near Mecca in Saudi Arabia on September 24, into a car at Mehrabad airport in Tehran, Iran, Oct. 3, 2015.

Iranian men load the coffin of a dead hajj pilgrim who was killed in a deadly stampede in Mina near Mecca in Saudi Arabia on September 24, into a car at Mehrabad airport in Tehran, Iran, Oct. 3, 2015.

An Associated Press count shows that at least 1,453 pilgrims were killed in a crush and stampede near the Saudi Arabian holy city of Mecca during this year's annual hajj pilgrimage, far more than the kingdom's official toll.

The higher count comes from tolls offered by 18 countries through their officials or state media broadcasts. The tolls are said to only include those killed in the disaster at Mina, near Mecca.

Iran said it had 465 pilgrims killed, while Egypt lost 148 and Indonesia 120.

Others were Nigeria with 99, Pakistan with 89, India with 81, Mali with 70, Bangladesh with 63, Senegal with 54, Benin with 51, Cameroon with 42, Ethiopia with 31, Morocco with 27, Algeria with 25, Ghana with 12, Chad with 11, Kenya with eight and Turkey with three.

Saudi officials have said their official figure of 769 killed and 934 injured remains accurate, although an investigation into the causes of the tragedy is ongoing.

With hundreds still missing, a final death toll remains in question. However, the newest count brings the number of dead closer to the deadliest disaster to ever strike the hajj - a stampede in 1990 that killed 1,426 people.

Saudi Arabia's regional rival Iran has blamed the disaster on the kingdom's "mismanagement.'' It has called for an independent body to take over planning and administering the five-day hajj pilgrimage, which is required of all able Muslims at least once in their lifetime.

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