Saudi Arabian authorities said Thursday that at least 717 people were killed and hundreds of others were injured in a stampede near the Muslim holy city of Mecca, where an estimated 2 million people are undertaking the traditional hajj pilgrimage, Fox News reports.
Reuters, citing Saudi state television, reported that the stampede took place in Mina, a tent city located approximately three miles east of Mecca itself. The area is on the main road from the center of Mecca to the Hill of Arafat, revered by Muslims as the place where Muhammad gave his farewell sermon to Muslims who had accompanied him to Mecca near the end of his life.
Photos released by the Saudi civil defense directorate on its official Twitter account showed rescue workers in orange and yellow vests helping the wounded onto stretchers and loading them onto ambulances near some of the white tents.
The circumstances of the stampede were not immediately clear. However, Thursday marked the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which is traditionally the most dangerous day of the pilgrimage because so many people attempt to perform rituals in the same place simultaneously.
(Lord, we pray for the people who were hurt and killed. Please provide healing to the hurt and bring comfort to the families of all involved. May they feel your love.)