MECCA – Hundreds were killed during a stampede in Mina, near the Muslim holy city of Mecca, as two million people were performing the traditional haj pilgrimage, according to the Saudi Civil Security Service.

Photo: Official account of the Directorate of the Saudi Civil Defense / Twitter
Photo: Official account of the Directorate of the Saudi Civil Defense / Twitter

At least 310 people lost their lives and 450 sustained injuries in a stampede that occurred on the third day of the annual Muslim haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. The tragedy took place in Mina some five kilometers away from Mecca during a ritual known as “stoning the devil” when Muslims throw stones at a rock, symbolically rejecting evil.

220 ambulances and 4,000 rescue workers were deployed in the field for emergency treatment of the victims of the crush.

Over two million people visit Mecca annually to perform haj, which is an obligation upon every Muslim.