01/12/2006, 00.00
SAUDI ARABIA
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Hajj to Makkah ends in bloodshed

Death toll might reach 300 people.

Riyadh (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The last day of the Hajj was marred by death. Perhaps as many as 300 people according to medical sources might have lost their lives during the final event of the pilgrimage to Makkah.

According to the Saudi Interior Ministry, an unknown number of people have been killed crushed at the eastern entrance to Mina's Jamarat Bridge.

Mina is a valley about a dozen kilometres (seven miles) from Makkah where the last act in the pilgrimage—the stoning of Satan—takes place. It symbolises the rejection of evil.

Jamarat Bridge was the scene of similar deadly tragedies. In 2001, 35 people died; in 2003, 14 did; and in 2004 the number of dead reached 251.

This year the collapse of a hostel in Makkah killed already 76 people.

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