Images continue to circulate online, angering many.
Blame continues to circulate regarding the over 700 deaths that occurred at the haj pilgrimage this week in Saudi Arabia.
Over 863 people were injured in what was the worst disaster at the HAJ pilgrimage in 25 years, according to Reuters. The incident occurred in Mina, a few km (miles) east of Mecca, while two groups were on their way to perform the “stoning of the devil” ritual at Jamarat.
While the Saudi government along with Saudi King Salman have maintained that the pilgrimage route was well managed and the blame for the tragedy lie elsewhere, namely in the pilgrims, politicians in Tehran suggested Riyadh was incapable of managing the event.
An investigation would be conducted rapidly and a final toll of dead and wounded is being calculated now according to Saudi Health Minister Khalid al-Falih.
The Health Minister’s comments are likely to be seen by the kingdom’s critics as a deflectment of responsibility in the catastrophe. The kingdom’s ruling Al Saud dynasty presents itself as the representative of orthodox Islam and ruler of the holy places within Mecca and Medina and safety during one of the holiest times in Islam is politically important.
In a U.N. General Assembly, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani echoed Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in blaming Saudi Arabia for the incident.
The official statement from the Saudi government echoed that the blame isn’t with event management. “The investigations into the incident of the stampede that took place today in Mina, which was perhaps because some pilgrims moved without following instructions by the relevant authorities, will be fast and will be announced as has happened in other incidents,” the statement said.