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Last Updated: Friday, 13 January 2006, 15:56 GMT
Hajj crush killed two UK pilgrims
Pilgrims injured in hospital
Injured pilgrims have been taken to hospital
Two Britons were among 350 pilgrims who died in a stampede during the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, the Foreign Office Hajj delegation has confirmed.

Delegation head Lord Patel of Blackburn told BBC News one of those killed was Fiaz Haque, 38, of Uxbridge, Middlesex.

A second British pilgrim, believed to be from the Birmingham area, also died, according to the delegation.

Lord Patel said several other Britons had been injured in the crush and had now been discharged from hospital.

About 25,000 Britons travel to Saudi Arabia for the five-day pilgrimage.

Ahmad Abdul Qayyum, a spokesman for Birmingham-based travel agency Al-Hidaayah Hajj & Umrah Tours, told the BBC News website one of the 400 Britons travelling with them had been killed and another pilgrim from the same family had been injured.

The two relatives had been "caught up in the stampede", he added.

The dead pilgrim's next-of-kin had been informed, Mr Qayyum told the BBC News website.

Caught in crush

Earlier Mr Straw told BBC Radio Four's Today programme a Briton had been confirmed as having been among the dead.

"Our response centre has been in touch with next of kin and with the travel agents who sadly have confirmed this.

"There are also two British people injured," he said.

Mr Straw added: "We do more than any other non-Muslim country, indeed much more than actually many Muslim countries, to provide assistance for our Muslim community on their Hajj.

Emergency vehicles at scene of crush
They felt that they were going to die and stared death in the face
Tarif Javid
Injured pilgrim's brother

"We have a full-time Hajj delegation with Muslim doctors and nurses on it, led by Lord Patel....

"So we really are there to help and to provide medical assistance and counselling for anybody distressed in this situation."

Tarif Javid's sister Sheraz, 35, and nephew, Ramzan, 19, from Leicester, were among those injured.

He told the BBC News Website: "They were caught in the middle of the stampede and were trampled on by what seemed to be hundreds of people."

His sister could see no way of getting up after she tripped over someone.

"They felt that they were going to die and stared death in the face. It was just a large mass of people - if you fall down, that's it.

"When I spoke to her, she broke down in tears. She had dead bodies lying around her and had to climb over them to get out."

Sheraz suffered possible fractures to her ribs and legs and Ramzan scratches and bruising. They hope to fly home on Saturday.

"We are glad as a family that they are ok," he added. "But I think the trauma of it will be hard to get over."

People took their luggage with them and were sitting on top of it in the middle of the main road on the way to this place while millions of people tried to walk past
Clare McShane

Clare McShane, from Heathrow, heard from her husband Ahmed Darragi, who had been caught in the crush, on Friday morning.

"He could feel the pushing and decided to get out of there," Ms McShane told the BBC News website.

"People took their luggage with them and were sitting on top of it in the middle of the main road on the way to this place while millions of people tried to walk past."

Despite travelling with a group booked through a British travel agency, Mr Darragi was unaware of the scale of the tragedy and his wife and two children's agonising wait for information, Ms McShane added.

"It is so disorganised over there - no-one even came to check they were all OK," she told the BBC News website.

Muslim groups in the UK have urged a limit be put on the number of pilgrims.

After a crowd crush in 2004, barriers and stewards were added to improve safety. But Thursday's death toll was the highest in 16 years.

Hajj  pilgrims stone a pillar representing the devil
People go every year and I think they should be stopped. It's obligatory just once in a lifetime
Ahmed Sheikh
Muslim Association of Britain

Muslim Association of Britain president Ahmed Sheikh said Muslims should be discouraged from performing the Hajj multiple times.

It's obligatory just once in a lifetime," he said.

And he criticised the Saudi authorities, saying they could be more open about the death toll, provide better emergency service response and improve routes in and out of the site.

Medical adviser for the Association of British Hujjaj (Hajj) pilgrims Dr Syed Raza Hussain said it was unnecessary for pilgrims to take luggage to the site.

"All you need is a small handbag in which you can place your pebbles and some water to drink," he said.

And he backed calls for a limit on numbers.




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See the crowds as pilgrims joined the stoning ritual



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