JEDDAH: As the probe into the stampede in Mina continues, an Iranian official has confirmed that a group of 300 Iranian pilgrims coming from the opposite direction caused the crush, according to media reports quoting Iranian sources.
Quoting the Iranian official, Asharq Al-Awsat, a sister publication of Arab News, said: “Violations began when a group of 300 Iranian pilgrims started moving from Muzdalifa straight to Jamarat, instead of first going to their camps as is generally practiced by Haj pilgrims, to wait for the time of movement of their group. Then they moved in the opposite direction on Street 203 where the painful incident took place.”
As per the guidelines, this group did not wait for the stone-throwing ritual in Jamarat Al-Aqba in their camp until the fixed time. This group decided to return from the opposite direction which also coincided with the movement of other groups as per their set schedules for pelting pebbles, resulting in the tragedy, said the Sabq.org website citing Iranian sources.
They said the group of Iranian pilgrims waited for some time and did not move in the opposite direction. This increased pressure and pushed the pilgrims to exit on the road, which is no wider than 20 meters.
The Asharq Al-Awsat report said that there were cameras in Jamarat, which revealed the details of the incident and confirmed the Iranian group’s wrong move. That actually was time for Turkish pilgrims to come out.
The sources said there is a set plan for Haj, which is implemented thoroughly with the help of government agencies and the Interior Ministry. But there are some groups who do not abide by this. This is what happened in the case of the 300 Iranian pilgrims who did not abide by their set schedule and came out in morning hours which was time given to other nationalities.