Every year, millions of Muslims around the world converge on the Saudi holy cities of Mecca and Medina for the annual Haj pilgrimage, with grand ceremonies representing a major security and logistical challenge for that kingdom’s authorities.
The Haj and the events surrounding it have often been marred by accidents and tragedies, such as Thursday’s stampede in which more than 700 people died near Mecca, a day before this year’s Eid-ul-Zuha.
While this was one of the deadliest Haj tragedies in terms of casualties, mishaps are not new to the annual Muslim pilgrimage. Only a few days ago, there had been a crane collapse in Mecca during the symbolic stoning-of-the-devil ritual.
Here is a brief look at the 10 worst Haj accidents in the past 40 years: