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Number of Dead in Hajj Stampede Disputed


An Iranian protester chants slogans at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran, Iran, on Sept. 27, 2015, during a gathering to blame Saudi for a deadly stampede that killed at least 700 and possibly 1,400 people.

An Iranian protester chants slogans at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran, Iran, on Sept. 27, 2015, during a gathering to blame Saudi for a deadly stampede that killed at least 700 and possibly 1,400 people.

The Associated Press news agency says at least 1,400 people were killed in a stampede during this year’s hajj pilgrimage.

That is much higher than the official count released by Saudi Arabia, where the hajj takes place.

The AP count includes deaths reported by officials or state media of 18 countries. The count includes only those killed in the stampede in the city of Mina, near the Saudi Arabian holy city of Mecca.

Iran reported 465 pilgrims killed, Egypt 148 and Indonesia 120. Nigeria reported 99 deaths, Pakistan 89, India 81, Mali 70, Bangladesh 63, Senegal 54, Benin 51, Cameroon 42, Ethiopia 31, Morocco 27, Algeria 25, Ghana 12 and Chad 11. Eight Kenyans died in the stampede along with three Turks.

Saudi officials continue to report 769 pilgrims were killed and 934 were injured. But hundreds are still missing, so the final death count may increase.

Investigators have not yet said what caused the stampede.

The AP count is close to the number killed in a stampede in 1990, when 1,426 people were killed. That has been the greatest number of deaths reported until now.

Iran blamed what it called Saudi Arabian “mismanagement” for the stampede this year. It called for an independent group to be responsible for the planning and operation of the Hajj.

The pilgrimage lasts for five days. All Muslims who are healthy enough to travel must go on the Hajj at least once in their life.

I’m Christopher Jones-Cruise.

VOANews.com writer Smita P. Nordwall reported this story from Washington. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted it for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

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Words in This Story

stampede – n. an occurrence in which a large group of frightened or excited animals or people run together in a wild and uncontrolled way to escape from something or get out of a place

pilgrimage – n. a journey to a holy place

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