World leaders react to Hajj stampede

From Pope Francis to South Africa's Acting President Cyril Ramaphosa, figures respond to the tragic incident that claimed more than 700 lives

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Hours after a stampede in the tent city of Mina claimed at least 717 lives and 863 other injuries, world leaders have reacted by offering the Muslim world, and Saudi Arabia, their condolences.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz

Saudi’s King Salman stressed his profound condolence on the victims of the stampede incident in Mina earlier today, offering the families of the martyred his warm condolence and the injured quick recovery.

“This sad accident, into which we have instructed the concerned authorities to launch investigation and provide us with the results as soon as possible,”, the monarch said.

He added that despite the results that would come out of the investigation, “the developing and upgrading of the mechanisms and ways of official performance in Hajj season would not cease.”

The monarch vowed that all obstacles and difficulties will be removed to enable the guests of God to perform their rituals in comfort and reassurance as “our duty and responsibilities are great in terms of service of the guests of God, which is an honor to us, and towards which we appeal to Allah Almighty to help us succeed in fulfilling this great and noble mission.”

Pope Francis

Pope Francis expressed “closeness” with the world’s Muslims on Thursday after more than 700 pilgrims were killed in a stampede outside the Islamic holy city of Makkah in the worst disaster to strike the annual haj pilgrimage in a quarter century.

Speaking during a packed evening prayer service at New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Argentine pope said he wanted to express “my sentiments of closeness in the face of the tragedy that their people suffered today in Makkah.”

“In this moment of prayer, I unite myself with you all in prayer to God, our father, all powerful and merciful,” Francis added.

United Nations’ Ban Ki-Moon

The U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said in a statement that he “was deeply saddened to learn of the death of more than 700 Hajj pilgrims and of injuries to many others as a result of a deadly incident in the Mina Valley in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This tragic incident is all the more distressing as it took place on the first day of the Holy Eid Al-Adha marking the end of the annual Hajj season.”

He extended his sincere condolences to the families of the victims and expresses his sympathies to all the Governments concerned.

U.S. White House

“The United States expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the hundreds of Hajj pilgrims killed and hundreds more injured in the heartbreaking stampede in Mina, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said National Security Council spokesman Ned Price.

“As Muslims around the world continue to celebrate Eid al-Adha, we join you in mourning the tragic loss of these faithful pilgrims.”

United Kingdom

I am shocked and saddened to hear of today’s events in Saudi Arabia. My thoughts are with the friends and families of...

Posted by Jeremy Corbyn on Thursday, September 24, 2015

South Africa

The office of South Africa's Acting President Cyril Ramaphosa released a statement, carried by Times Live:

While the South African government awaits information about the status of South African pilgrims‚ acting president Ramaphosa has expressed South Africa's shared grief at this substantial loss of life.

“He also wished injured survivors a speedy recovery‚” a statement by the Department on International Relations and Cooperation said.

“Acting president Ramaphosa said that for South Africans‚ the stampede was particularly tragic given its coincidence with Heritage Day‚ an occasion dedicated to celebrating the diversity of the nation and humanity at large.”

[With Agencies]