Deaths among Egyptian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia

Cairo: A bus carrying 16 Egyptian pilgrims overturned in Saudi Arabia, leaving an unspecified number of people dead, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry has said.

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The crash occurred about 310 kilometres from the Saudi north-western city of Tabuk while the pilgrims were on their way to perform the Umrah or the lesser pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, Egyptian assistant Foreign Minister for Egyptians Abroad, said in a statement.

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“The Egyptian consulate in Jeddah closely follows the accident and is in contact with the Saudi authorities to finalise all procedures related to the home return of the Egyptians’ bodies and determine the circumstances of the accident,” he added.

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It is not clear yet how many died in the crash or its cause.

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Last October, Saudi Arabia launched a gradual plan for resumption of the Umrah after about seven months of suspension prompted by the global coronavirus pandemic.

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On November 1, the first foreign pilgrims had arrived in the kingdom according to the Saudi plan.

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As many as 20,000 Umrah pilgrims and 60,000 worshipers per day are allowed to perform prayers at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, according to the current third phase. This phase will remain in effect until the peril of COVID-19 is officially announced to be over.

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