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Thursday, 9 April, 1998, 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK
Saudis identifying nationalities of 118 dead pilgrims

The authorities in Saudi Arabia say they are continuing their efforts to identify the nationalities of the one-hundred-and-eighteen Muslims who died in a stampede on the last day of the annual Haj pilgrimage to Mecca.

Unofficial reports say many were from Malaysia and Indonesia, and put the number of dead as high as one-hundred-and-fifty.

Saudi security forces said there'd been a crush as crowds of pilgrims surged across an elevated walkway to take part in a ritual known as stoning the devil , in which stones are thrown at pillars symbolising the devil.

Some victims fell, others were trampled to death.

It's the latest in a series of tragedies to strike the Haj.

Last year, more than three-hundred-and-forty people were killed in a fire, while two-hundred-and-seventy died in another stampede in 1994.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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