Bodies of Iranian Pilgrims Killed in Hajj Stampede to Be Returned Home Monday

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SHAFAQNA - Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Saeed Ohadi said on Friday that the bodies of the Iranian pilgrims killed during a rush in the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, will be returned to Iran on Monday. 

“So far 131 Iranians have been killed and another 85 others injured,” he noted, adding that the exact number of those killed, injured and missing is not immediately known. 

Ohadi added that the Iranian rescue teams are doing their best to transfer the injured Iranian pilgrims to medical centers. 

Elsewhere in his remarks, the head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization noted that the organizers of this year’s Hajj are not properly trained and lack essential skills to run the big event. 

Earlier, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said that a private flight will be arranged to bring back the bodies of the pilgrims to their loved ones in Iran once its legal procedure is complete. 

According to media reports, at least 1,300 pilgrims were killed Thursday in the stampede outside the Muslim holy city of Mecca, the worst disaster to strike the annual Hajj pilgrimage in 25 years. 

Photographs published on the Twitter feed of the Saudi civil defense Thursday showed pilgrims lying on stretchers while emergency workers in high-visibility jackets lifted them into an ambulance. 

The Hajj, the world’s largest annual gathering of people, has been the scene of numerous deadly stampedes, fires and riots in the past. 

Safety during Hajj is a politically sensitive issue for the kingdom’s ruling Al Saud dynasty, which presents itself internationally as the custodian of its holiest places in Mecca and Medina.

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