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Muslim Pilgrims Stone Satan In Most Dangerous Hajj Ritual


Hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims massed in a valley near the Saudi holy city of Mina today for a ceremony representing the stoning of Satan.

The event is the last and most dangerous rite of the annual hajj.

Hundreds of people have been trampled to death in stampedes that have blighted several previous pilgrimages to Islam's holiest sites, when the faithful rush to hurl stones at huge pillars symbolizing the devil.

To complete the ritual, a pilgrim must throw 21 pebbles at each of three 25-meter pillars.

Saudi authorities have installed a multilevel walkway through the site in a bid to avoid the trampling that caused the deaths of 364 people in 2006, 251 people in 2004, and 1,426 people in 1990.

So far this year, no major incidents have been reported among the more than 2.5 million pilgrims taking part in the hajj.

compiled from agency reports

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