Supreme Leader condoles deaths of pilgrims in Mecca crane crash

Supreme Leader condoles deaths of pilgrims in Mecca crane crash
(Thursday, September 24, 2015) 22:37

TEHRAN - Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has offered condolences over the deaths of a number of Iranian pilgrims in the collapse of a crane in Saudi Arabia’s Mecca.

The Leader made the remarks in a message relayed by his chief of staff Hojatoleslam Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, who had a telephone conversation with Hojatoleslam Qaziasgar, the head of Iran’s Hajj Mission in Saudi Arabia, on Sunday.
Hojatoleslam Qaziasgar updated Golpayegani on the latest death toll, the status of those injured in the deadly incident and the process of medical treatment.
Earlier on Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif offered his condolences to those who lost loved ones in the collapse of the crane in Mecca.
Zarif said the Iranian diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia are duty-bound to serve the country’s nationals during Hajj and take care of those injured in the incident.
On Friday evening, a large construction crane toppled over during a violent rainstorm and crashed into Mecca’s Masjid al-Haram (the Grand Mosque), killing at least 107 pilgrims and wounding 238 others, according to the Tasnim news agency.
Five Iranian nationals were among the dead and dozens of other Iranian pilgrims were injured, Tasnim said, quoting an official at Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization as saying that seven other pilgrims are still missing following the crash.
The crane fell 10 days before the start of the Hajj, an annual pilgrimage expected to bring 2 million people to Mecca.
Masjid al-Haram is the world’s largest mosque and houses the Kaaba, the black cube that Muslims around the world pray toward and which they walk around during the pilgrimage.
The Saudi government is in the midst of a multibillion-dollar project to enlarge the mosque, and the site is currently ringed with cranes.  Large-scale deadly accidents during hajj have occurred on a number of occasions in years past.
In 2006, more than 360 pilgrims died in a stampede at the desert plain of Mina, near Mecca. A crush of pilgrims two years earlier left 244 dead.
The worst hajj-related tragedy was in 1990, when 1,426 pilgrims died in a stampede in an overcrowded pedestrian tunnel leading to holy sites in Mecca.

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