Saudi king re­jects giv­ing up Hajj man­age­ment af­ter stam­pede

Daily Trust - - INTERNATIONAL -

Saudi Ara­bia’s king has re­jected sug­ges­tions his coun­try should give up its role as or­gan­iser of the Hajj pil­grim­age, fol­low­ing last month’s deadly stam­pede.

King Sal­man said he would not al­low any “hid­den hands” to politi­cise the tragedy and di­vide Mus­lims.

An Ira­nian cleric had called for the Hajj to be man­aged by other Is­lamic states.

More than 1,480 pil­grims died in the stam­pede, for­eign of­fi­cials say.

“The ir­re­spon­si­ble state­ments aim­ing for po­lit­i­cal ex­ploita­tion of the in­ci­dent... shall not af­fect the role of Saudi Ara­bia, its duty and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in serv­ing the guests of God,” King Sal­man said in a state­ment car­ried by the of­fi­cial Saudi Press Agency.

Ira­nian lead­ers have ac­cused Saudi Ara­bia of mis­man­age­ment and in­ep­ti­tude and called for an in­de­pen­dent body to over­see the Hajj af­ter the dis­as­ter, in which two crowds con­verged on a nar­row road in Mina.

The stam­pede killed at least 1,480 pil­grims, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial state­ments from na­tions whose cit­i­zens died, in­clud­ing at least 464 Ira­ni­ans and 177 Egyp­tians. The death toll given by Saudi Ara­bia’s Health Min­istry is 769.

An an­i­mated video from the Dutch Safety Board shows the dam­age to the plane and how it was caused

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