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MOSCOW, September 24 /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has presented condolences to King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia over the death of a huge number of pilgrims during a ritual ceremony in the Mina Valley held on the occasion of the Feast of Sacrifice, the Kremlin press service reported on Thursday.
"Putin expressed his compassion to the families and relatives of the dead and wished an early recovery to the injured," the press service said.
According to the latest reports of Saudi Arabia’s Civil Defense Directorate, the death toll from the stampede has risen to 717 people of various nationalities while over 863 were injured.
The crush took place outside the Muslim holy city of Mecca during the Stoning of the Devil ritual.
A source at Saudi Arabia’s Civil Defense Directorate said earlier on Thursday that the stampede had been caused by a collision of two flows of pilgrims who were heading from a tent camp for a place of common prayer on the first day of the Feast of Sacrifice known as Eid al-Adha.
Thursday’s stampede in the valley of Mina has become the biggest that has ever occurred in Saudi Arabia during the Haj.
In 1990, the names of 1,426 pilgrims were added to the list of Haj tragic incidents. Thousands of pilgrims had amassed in a pedestrian tunnel when the local ventilation system broke down. As a result, 1,426 people, many of them of Malaysian, Indonesian and Pakistani origin, died.