Saudi Hajj deaths

This item appears on page 15 of the November 2015 issue.

In Mecca, Saudi Arabia, high winds were blamed for the collapse of a crane into the Grand Mosque, which resulted in 107 people killed and nearly 200 injured on Sept. 11. 

The tragedy occurred just before the annual Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, where pilgrims enter the Grand Mosque to walk around the Kaaba, a holy building in its center courtyard, seven times. This year’s Hajj began at the end of September. 

The Grand Mosque has been undergoing construction to expand it by 4.3 million square feet in order to accommodate up to 2.2 million people.

On Sept. 24, at least 769 Hajj pilgrims, and possibly more than 1,000, were killed and more than 800 were wounded when a stampede of people occurred in the city of Mina, a suburb of Mecca, during a ritual known as “stoning the devil,” a traditional part of the Hajj in which stones are thrown at a wall symbolizing the devil. The cause is not yet known.