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Saudi’s King Salman warns off countries from “tampering with Arab unity”

Saudi’s King Salman warns off countries from “tampering with Arab unity”

The monarch said that the kingdom was dedicated to the safety of all pilgrims coming to perform haj, days after a stampede killed over 750 people

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has warned that the kingdom will not allow any “hidden hand” to tamper with Islamic and Arab unity, just days after hundreds of pilgrims were killed in a stampede during haj.

The monarch was speaking at a meeting of dignitaries and leaders of Islamic countries who had come to perform haj, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

“As Allah Almighty has honored us to serve the two holy mosques, and the pilgrims to the house of Allah, we — the leadership and people of Saudi Arabia — are dedicated to exert all our efforts and capabilities to ensure ease and comfort for guests of God, as well as their security and safety.”

Saudi Arabia saw one of the worst haj disasters last week as over 769 pilgrims were killed in a stampede outside Mecca.

Although a comprehensive investigation is yet to be conducted to determine the cause of the incident, officials have blamed pilgrims of not following directions, leading to the stampede.

However, the kingdom’s critics have hit back at such claims saying that the country is responsible for the incident.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has even suggested that the incident could be due to Saudi Arabia transferring some of its experienced troops to fight at its border with Yemen. He also called for an enquiry into this and other similar incidents at haj this year.

About 136 Iranians are believed to be killed in the haj stampede while 300 others are still missing. Iran’s FARS news agency also had reports quoting unnamed sources as saying that confusion among pilgrims began after Saudi shut down two roads leading to Jamarat to facilitate the convoy of a senior official to pass through.

Meanwhile Saudi media has blamed Iranian pilgrims for causing the confusion by not heeding to instructions. Local newspaper Al Sharq Al Awsat reported that about 300 Iranian pilgrims did not follow the stoning process instructions, leading to a clash on the way to Jamarat.

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