Saudi prince's convoy responsible for Hajj Stampede?New Delhi: Iran's national media has led the blame for Thursday's Mina stampede on the convoy of Saudi Arabia's deputy crown prince.Iran's Press TV said the convoy of Saudi King Salman's son Prince Mohammad bin
New Delhi: Iran's national media has led the blame for Thursday's Mina stampede on the convoy of Saudi Arabia's deputy crown prince.
Iran's Press TV said the convoy of Saudi King Salman's son Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud prompted the fatal mass crush.
Quoting the head of Iran's Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization, the channel also claimed that death toll in the tragedy has soared to 2000.
It also cited a report in the Lebanese newspaper Al-Diyar that said 200 army forces and 150 police officers escorted the prince in the middle of the crowd forcing the pilgrims to change their original direction, resulting to a stampede.
"The Lebanese daily further said that Salman and his entourage swiftly abandoned the scene, adding that the Saudi authorities seek to hush up the entire story and impose a media blackout on Salman's presence in the area.” Press TV said
Initial reports suggested two crowds coming from opposing directions converged on an intersection, which began pushing and shoving until a stampede began.
Hours after the stampede, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urged Saudi authorities to accept their responsibility for the tragedy, saying it was a result of ‘mismanagement'.
Former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani, for his part, held the Saudi government accountable for the tragedy. “The officials in the Saudi government in charge of [maintaining] order in this huge ritual are responsible for the incident and should be answerable to the Islamic world.”
Countries around the world began reporting on casualties and their missing, including Pakistan, which said at least 236 of its pilgrims were missing for on Friday.
Egypt's Religious Endowments Minister Mohammed Mokhtar Gomaa told the state-run MENA news agency the death toll for his country had risen to 14.
India said at least 18 of its citizens died in the crush, which also claimed the lives of at least four Turks, three Indonesians, three Kenyans and seven Pakistanis. Authorities in West Africa said 30 pilgrims from Mali and five from Senegal also died.
Among all those countries, Iran immediately appeared to be hardest hit, saying 131 of its pilgrims died and 85 were injured triggering mass protest in several parts of Iran.