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Saudi King Orders Investigation Into Hajj Stampede

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud ordered a swift investigation, as well as a safety review, after Thursday's stampede at the Hajj pilgrimage site of Mina which left at least 717 people dead and 863 hurt.

On its Friday front page, Saudi daily Al Yaum quotes the king as saying that "the massive development plans undertaken to upgrade Hajj services will continue without any break."

Health Minister Khaled al-Falih seemed to blame the tragedy on the victims, saying that "pilgrims moved without following instructions," a comment that sparked intense criticism, not least from Iran, the home country of most of the victims identified so far.

According to the BBC, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed the Saudi government, saying "mismanagement and improper actions have caused this catastrophe." Witnesses interviewed by AFP also pointed out the police's tactics and unpreparedness.

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This Happened — September 29: COVID-19 Death Toll Hits 1 Million

On this day in 2020, the worldwide death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic reached one million.

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