10/03/2015, 00.00
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Bodies of first 104 Iranian pilgrims who died at Mecca arrive home

At least 464 Iranians are believed to have died in Mecca. The Saudi authorities have not yet drawn up a detailed list of the dead and nationalities. Officially 769 pilgrims died, but it is suspected that the real body count is between 2 and 4 thousand.

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The bodies of 104 pilgrims who died in the pilgrim stampede in Mecca nine days ago have arrived home.  President Hassan Rouhani received the remains, speaking of "a language of brotherhood," referring to the dead, but also of a "language of authority" against the Saudi authorities accused of incompetence in organizing a safe and secure pilgrimage and slowness in identifying and sending the bodies in their respective countries.

The 104 bodies that arrived in Tehran are just part of about 464 Iranians killed in a stampede at Mina. Saudi authorities have not yet succeeded in drawing up a list stating the nationalities of the pilgrims killed. So far, officials have spoken of 769 victims from 24 countries. But according to the Iranian authorities the dead could be between 2 and 4 thousand.

The incident in Mecca adds to rising tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia, already poisoned by the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, where the two countries militarily are on opposite sides.

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