The Ministry of Interior has confirmed that a serious stampede occurred today at the entrance of the Jamarat Bridge in Mina, where thousands of pilgrims were heading towards the location for the ritual of stoning of Satan.
As a result of the stampede, 345 died and 289 were injured, said Minister of Health Dr Hamad al-Manie. Most of the injuries were minor, and a large number of the injured pilgrims were treated and released.
Ministry of Interior spokesman Maj. Gen. Eng. Mansour Al-Turki said that the tragic accident was caused by the sheer number of pilgrims who came to Jamarat to perform the stoning ritual at noon. Al-Turki said that the large amount of luggage the pilgrims carried with them was also a factor.
Security forces immediately cordoned off the area to aid the pilgrims involved in the stampede. Rescue efforts remain ongoing.
Saudi authorities have set up a hotline to answer questions relating to the tragic accident.