Hajj stam­pede: Iran death toll rises to 464

11 die as bus hits com­muters in Tur­key

Daily Trust - - INTERNATIONAL -

Iran says num­ber of its cit­i­zens who died in the Hajj stam­peded in Saudi Ara­bia last week has reached 464 - nearly dou­ble the pre­vi­ous toll.

Ira­nian author­i­ties said there was no longer hope of find­ing any of the coun­try’s miss­ing pil­grims alive. At least 11 peo­ple have died af­ter a bus struck a queue of peo­ple at a bus stop in the Turk­ish cap­i­tal, Ankara.

The driver ap­peared to lose con­trol of the bus in the cen­tral Dikimevi area of the city, plough­ing into com­muters be­fore even­tu­ally com­ing to a halt fur­ther down the street.

Ankara gover­nor Mehmet Kil­iclar said Thurs­day’s crash also caused sev­eral in­juries.

Emer­gency work­ers had to pull the dead and in­jured from un­der the bus.

Turk­ish media said the driver’s brakes had failed as he ap­proached the bus stop at

Ac­cord­ing to Saudi of­fi­cials, 769 peo­ple died in the crush in Mina, near Mecca, and 934 were in­jured.

The Saudis have been crit­i­cised over their han­dling of se­cu­rity and for the slow pub­li­ca­tion of ca­su­alty fig­ures.

Ira­nian of­fi­cials al­lege that around 13:00 (10:00 GMT).

Eye­wit­nesses said that af­ter the bus had struck the queue the over­all num­ber of deaths is now more than 1,000. Pak­istan, In­dia, and In­done­sia have also sug­gested death toll may be higher than the 769 re­ported by Saudi Ara­bia.

Saudi author­i­ties have not re­leased a break­down of vic­tims by na­tion­al­ity, but a tally of the num­bers of dead re­leased by in­di­vid­ual coun­tries adds up to more than the of­fi­cial fig­ure.

The crush oc­curred as two large groups of pil­grims con­verged at right an­gles on the way to tak­ing part in one of the Hajj’s rites at the Ja­ma­rat pil­lars.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei has called on Saudi Ara­bia to apol­o­gise for the deadly stam­pede and warned of “harsh” mea­sures if the king­dom fails to promptly repa­tri­ate the bod­ies of Iran’s dead. at the bus stop it con­tin­ued for more than 70m (230ft), hit­ting peo­ple and parked cars.

Ira­ni­ans have protested out­side the Saudi em­bassy in Tehran

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