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345 die in Haj tragedy

Jan. 12 (Agencies): At least 345 pilgrims were crushed to death during the stoning ritual on the last day of the Haj, the worst tragedy to beset the sacred ritual in more than a decade.

Six Indians ' four women and two men ' are suspected to have been killed, minister of state for external affairs E. Ahamed said. The number of Indians injured has been put at 25.

However, the Indian consul general in Jeddah, Ausaf Sayeed, said from Mena that he has no information about the Indians feared killed.

Sayeed said he and other Indian officials would visit mortuaries and hospitals in the area to look for Indian casualties. He said all the wounded, barring two women, have been discharged from hospital. The two are Shakira from Uttar Pradesh and Mariam B. from Maharashtra who suffered multiple fractures.

The pilgrims were crushed at the eastern entrance of Mena’s disaster-prone Jamarat Bridge as they jostled to perform the stoning.

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