Thursday's stampede second worst tragedy at Haj

Updated 26 September 2015

Thursday's stampede second worst tragedy at Haj

MAKKAH: The deadly stampede at the Haj in Mina on Thursday has become the second worst in a number of tragedies to strike the pilgrimage, surpassed only by a tunnel stampede 25 years ago.
As of the latest count by the Directorate for Civil Defense, the death toll in Thursday’s stampede has jumped to 717 and 865 more were injured, some critically.
The worst ever was in July 2, 1990, when 1,426 pilgrims, mainly from Asia, died as they stampeded in a tunnel at Mina after a ventilation system failure.

Third worst was in July 31, 1987, when Saudi security forces suppressed rampaging Iranian pilgrims. More than 400 people, including 275 Iranians were killed, according to an official toll.

Coming in fourth was another stampede on January 12, 2006, killing 364 pilgrims during the stoning ritual in Mina. Six days before that, 76 people died when a hotel collapsed in downtown Makkah.
In an uncanny similarity, this year’s stampede was also preceded by another tragedy in Makkah. A total of 111 and more than 400 people, including foreign pilgrims, were killed when a crane collapsed on the circumambulation area of the Grand Mosque amid strong winds and heavy rain on September 11.
The fifth worst was on April 15 when a fire caused by a gas stove ripped through a camp housing pilgrims at Mina, killing 343 and injuring around 1,500.

Below is a timeline compiled by Agence France Presse (AFP) of significant incidents during the annual event, which draws around two million Muslim faithful from around the world.

• 2015
September 24: A stampede during the “stoning of the devil” ritual in Mina leaves at least 717 pilgrims dead and over 860 injured.
September 11: 109 people are killed and hundreds injured, including many foreigners, when a crane collapses on Makkah’s Grand Mosque after strong winds and heavy rain.

• 2006
January 6: 76 people die when a hotel collapses in the city center.
January 12: 364 pilgrims are killed in a stampede during the stoning ritual in Mina. The ritual involves Haj participants throwing pebbles at three headstones, symbolizing their rejection of Satan.

• 2005
January 22: Three pilgrims are crushed to death in a stampede at the stoning ceremony in Mina.

• 2004
February 1: 251 people are killed in a stampede at Mina, also at the stoning of the devil.

• 2003
February 11: 14 faithful, including six women, die on the first day of the stoning ritual.

• 2001
March 5: 35 pilgrims, including 23 women, die at the ritual in Mina.

• 1998
April 9: More than 118 people are killed and 180 injured in a stampede at Mina.

• 1997
April 15: A fire caused by a gas stove rips through a camp housing pilgrims at Mina, killing 343 and injuring around 1,500.

• 1995
May 7: Three people die and 99 are injured when a fire breaks out at the Mina camp.

• 1994
May 24: 270 people are killed in a stampede during the stoning, an incident authorities attribute to “record numbers” of pilgrims at the site.

• 1990
July 2: A huge stampede in a tunnel at Mina after a failure in its ventilation system kills 1,426 pilgrims, mainly from Asia.

• 1989
July 10: A twin attack on the outside of the Grand Mosque kills one and wounds 16. Sixteen Kuwaiti Shiites are found guilty of the crime and executed weeks later.

• 1987
July 31: Saudi security forces suppress an unauthorized protest held by Iranian pilgrims. More than 400 people, including 275 Iranians are killed, according to an official toll.

• 1979
November 20: Hundreds of gunmen opposed to the Saudi government barricade themselves inside the Grand Mosque, taking dozens of pilgrims hostage. The official toll of the assault and subsequent fighting is 153 people dead and 560 wounded.

• 1975
December: A huge fire started by a gas cannister exploding in a pilgrim camp close to Makkah kills 200 people.

 

 


Photo exhibition recalls 90 years of Saudi-Lebanon ties

Updated 28 min 9 sec ago

Photo exhibition recalls 90 years of Saudi-Lebanon ties

  • Thousands of photos on display
  • Ties ‘rooted’ in history, says Kingdom’s ambassador

BEIRUT: Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Lebanon Walid Bukhari and Lebanon’s Minister of Information Minister of Information Jamal Jarrah on Monday inaugurated a photography exhibition celebrating 90 years of bilateral relations.

The King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Research and Archives and the Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain Cultural Foundation provided the embassy in Lebanon with historical documents and photos for the exhibition, which was launched on World Photography Day. Some of the material dates back more than 90 years.

Bukhari said the exhibition’s content proved that the countries’ relations were rooted in history and recalled the words of King Abdul Aziz bin Abdulrahman, who said: “Lebanon is part of us. I protect its independence myself and will not allow anything to harm it.”

Jarrah, who was representing Prime Minister Saad Hariri, said: “We need this Arab embrace in light of the attacks targeting the Arab region and we still need the Kingdom’s support for Lebanon’s stability, because Lebanon is truly the center from which Arabism originated.”

The exhibition starts with a document appointing Mohammed Eid Al-Rawaf as the Kingdom’s consul in Syria and Lebanon. It was signed by King Abdul Aziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Faisal Al-Saud in 1930 and states that the consul’s residence is in Damascus and that his mission is to “promote Saudi merchants, care for their affairs and assist them with their legal and commercial interests.”

Black and white pictures summarize milestones in the development of bilateral relations, while others depict key visits and meetings between leaders and dignitaries.

“The exhibition demanded great efforts because the pieces were not found at one single location,” former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora told Arab News. “Circulating this activity in the Kingdom’s embassies in numerous countries is a great step and has pushed the Lebanese Ministry of Information to benefit from this archive. The Lebanese people remember the important positions the Kingdom has taken over the year to support their independence and sovereignty and in hard times.”

Lebanon, particularly Beirut, is a hit with Saudi travelers although the Kingdom had been advising citizens since 2011 to avoid the country, citing Hezbollah’s influence and instability from the war in neighboring Syria. 

But the easing of restrictions since February has led to a surge in Saudis heading to Lebanon.

Riyadh earlier this year released $1 billion in funding and pledged to boost Lebanon’s struggling economy. Another sign of warming ties was an anniversary event marking the 2005 assassination of Hariri’s father that featured Saudi Royal Court adviser Nizar Al-Aloula as a keynote speaker.

“The exhibition highlights the unique model of Lebanese-Arab relations that should be taught in diplomatic institutes, starting with the Lebanese Foreign Ministry,” former minister Marwan Hamadeh told Arab News. “Over the course of 90 years, we have had brotherly ties and political support for independence, freedom, growth, economy and culture and then the Taif Accord (which ended the Lebanese Civil War). Even after that, when Lebanon engaged in military adventures, the Kingdom was there to help with reconstruction and we are proud of these relations.”

Highlights include a recording of King Faisal telling President Charles Helou about the need to strengthen “brotherhood in the face of the aggression targeting our countries without respecting the sanctity of holy sites and international, human and moral norms to extend its influence not only in the region but across the world.”

There are also photos from a recent meeting that brought together King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Lebanese officials. 

An old broadcast recording can be heard saying that the “tragedy of the Lebanese civil war can only be ended by affirming the Lebanese legitimacy and preserving its independence and territorial integrity.”

The exhibition is on at Beit Beirut, which is located on what used to be the frontline that divided the city during the civil war.