Saudi bus crash kills 23 pilgrims: report | india | Hindustan Times
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Saudi bus crash kills 23 pilgrims: report

india Updated: Jan 13, 2007 16:26 IST

At least 23 Muslim pilgrims returning from the Muslim holy city of Mecca were killed in a bus crash in Saudi Arabia near the border with the United Arab Emirates, press reports said on Saturday.

The dead pilgrims, 22 from Kyrgyzstan and a Syrian, died when their bus collided on Friday with two other buses near the Batha crossing point into the UAE, Al-Ittihad newspaper reported.

Twenty-five people were also injured.

Poor visibility was blamed for the accident, said the UAE's English-language Gulf News, quoting a police official in the Emirates.

It was the first incident to blight an otherwise accident-free hajj in Mecca, in contrast with other years which have seen deadly stampedes and other tragedies.

The worst incident was in the holy city of Mina in July 1990, when 1,426 mostly Asian pilgrims perished in a tunnel after the ventilation system broke down.

Nearly 2.4 million people flocked to holy sites in Saudi Arabia this year to perform the hajj, which ended early January, including more than 1.6 million from outside the kingdom.

The hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam which all able-bodied Muslims must undertake once in a lifetime if they have the means.