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Arabic daily blames Saudi Prince convoy for Hajj stampede

Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud

Mina: An Arabic-language daily Al-Diyar report has blamed convoy of the son of the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for the tragedy. While Saudi Arabia on Friday suggested pilgrims failing to follow crowd control rules bore some blame for the stampede that claimed more than 700 lives.

According to the report that the convoy of Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud played a key role in stampede on Thursday.

Notably, Saudi Arabia is under growing pressure to account for a crush that killed more than 700 people at the Hajj pilgrimage.

The kingdom`s regional rival Iran expressed indignation at the deaths of 131 of its nationals at the world`s largest annual gathering of people, and politicians in Tehran suggested Riyadh was incapable of managing the event.

Meanwhile, the report in the Lebanese daily said that Salman, accompanied by a huge entourage and tight security, arrived at Mina, about 5 kilometres from Mecca, early Thursday.

His presence led to a change in the direction of the movement of the pilgrims, which eventually led to the stampede.

The daily added that Salman and his entourage quickly abandoned the scene and the Saudi authorities are trying to crush the story.

However, officials in Saudi Arabia have denied the report.

In a statement posted on his ministry`s website, Saudi Health Minister Khalid al-Falih said an investigation would be conducted rapidly and a final toll of dead and wounded calculated. At least 863 pilgrims were injured.