Egyptians' death toll in Haj stampede rises to 55 - minister

Sunday 27-09-2015 04:24 PM
Egyptians' death toll in Haj stampede rises to 55 - minister

Hundreds died in a stampede in the tent city of Mena as Muslims preformed pilgrimage, on Sept. 24, 2015. Handout from the Saudi civil defence Twitter account


CAIRO, Sept 27 (Aswat Masriya) - The number of Egyptians who died in a stampede outside of the Holy Saudi city of Mecca climbed to 55 on Sunday, Egypt's religious endowments minister said. 

Egyptian Religious Endowments Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa told a press conference in Saudi Arabia that 120 Egyptian pilgrims either cannot be found or are missing. This number might include people who died in the stampede, state news agency MENA reported.

The pictures of dozens of Egyptians who went to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage are being circulated on social media by family members who have lost contact with them. Many of them are senior citizens.

Gomaa said anyone who cannot be reached will be reported missing to Saudi authorities in order "to guarantee their rights." 

Gomaa said 26 Egyptians who were injured in the stampede are still receiving treatment in hospitals. 

On Thursday, a stampede in the tent city of Mina left hundreds dead after people either suffocated or were trampled while preforming the annual Islamic pilgrimage, Haj.   

Initially, Saudi Arabia announced 717 pilgrims dead, but the toll rose on Saturday to 769, Saudi Health Minister Khaled al-Falih said. 

The stampede has killed and injured people from across the world, including over 130 from Iran.

It has sparked tensions between the Saudi Kingdom and Iran, since the latter is one of the most vocal critics of the incident and of Saudi authorities' way of handling it. 

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