At least one Afghan national was killed and 29 others were injured in the crane collapse at the Grand Mosque of Mecca on Friday, the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs confirmed on Saturday.
The tragic accident took place on Friday as worshippers gathered for Friday prayers, which left at least 107 pilgrims dead and injured 238 others, according to Saudi officials.
The Grand Mosque, also known as Masjid al-Haraam, is the largest mosque in the world and surrounds Kaaba, the holiest religious site for Muslims.
Suleiman al-Amr, the head of Saudi’s civil defence authority, said strong winds as a result of storm caused the disaster. However, a probe into the accident has been ordered by Mecca governor Prince Khaled al-Faisal.
Irfan al-Alawi, co-founder of the Mecca-based Islamic Heritage Research Foundation, blamed authorities of negligence. “They do not care about the heritage, and they do not care about health and safety,” he told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The grand mosque, which houses the Ka’bah, is surrounded by a number of cranes because of the ongoing construction work to enlarge the mosque by 400,000 sq m, which will accommodate up to 2.2 million pilgrims every year. The work was expected to be complete before the pilgrimage commences from September 22.
The Grand Mosque, also known as Masjid al-Haraam, is the largest mosque in the world and surrounds Kaaba, the holiest religious site for Muslims
Millions of Muslims from across the world, including from Afghanistan, converge in the holy city of Mecca for annual Hajj pilgrimage every year.
The Saudi Press Agency said that almost 800,000 pilgrims had arrived by Friday for the annual pilgrimage. Last year, around two million pilgrims had come for the pilgrimage.
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