Thursday, February 05, 2004
Seven more die after hajj stampede
The Calgary Sun: "MINA, Saudi Arabia -- Seven more pilgrims died after being crushed in a stampede during the ritual stoning of Satan at the Muslim hajj, bringing the death toll to 251, a Saudi official said yesterday. 'Seven of the wounded succumbed to their injuries,' said Khaled al-Marghalani, spokesman for the Health Ministry.

Bishr Abdullah, one of hundreds injured in Sunday's stampede in Mecca said when the pushing began from two directions, Abdullah -- jammed in the midst of a crowd of pilgrims close to a tall stone pillar -- had no place to turn. The Nigerian pilgrim slipped and fell beneath many sandalled feet.

'When the pressure intensified, I could not breathe and I fell. People stepped on me, but luckily someone I don't know pulled me out,' he said yesterday from his bed at King Faisal Hospital in Mecca, where he was recovering with a dislocated shoulder.

Despite the tragedy, waves of pilgrims shoved their way through the crowds to continue with the devil-stoning rituals yesterday."

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