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Tehran Says 131 Iranians Killed In Hajj Tragedy

Hundreds Die In Hajj Stampede
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Iranian officials say at least 131 Iranians were among the more than 700 pilgrims killed in a stampede at the hajj in Saudi Arabia on September 24, the worst disaster at the annual Islamic event since 1990.

Said Ohadi, the head of Iran's hajj organization, told the official IRNA news agency that more Iranians could still die, as 60 others were injured in the tragedy.

Saudi officials say at least 717 people died and more than 805 injured in a stampede near the site of the last major rite of the hajj pilgrimage where hundreds of thousands perform a symbolic stoning of the devil.

It was the greatest loss of life at the hajj since 1990, when at least 1,426 pilgrims were killed in a stampede in a tunnel in Mina.

Iranian leaders -- including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- have been critical of Saudi officials and blamed their mismanagement of the massive crowds for the deaths.

Khamenei said on September 24 that the Saudi government should admit its "heavy responsibility" for the incident.

Saudi Health Minister Khalid al-Falih said the tragedy was caused by pilgrims not following timetables that help control the size of the crowds.

There are some 2 million Muslims from 164 countries in Saudi Arabia performing the five-day hajj, which began on September 22.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters