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According to diplomats speaking to the French news outlet Agence France Presse (AFP), hundreds of visitors have died during the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca due to extreme heat.

The diplomats reported that roughly 550 people died during the haj, with 320 of them being Egyptians who died of heat-related illnesses. According to Saudi media, temperatures at the Grand Mosque in Mecca peaked at 125.2 degrees, with some not having adequate water.


Additional reports indicated multiple fatalities among other nationalities, with 144 Indonesian pilgrims and 11 Iranians dying. Tunisian news agency Tunis Afrique Presse confirmed 35 Tunisian deaths, mainly attributed to heat. On social media, family members searching for their loved ones post pictures begging people to share their faces to locate them.

Digging Deeper:
The Hajj pilgrimage is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and is considered one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey. The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to the 12th of Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic lunar calendar. During Hajj, pilgrims perform a series of rituals including walking seven times around the Kaaba, traveling between the hills of Safa and Marwah, and participating in the symbolic stoning of the devil.


Saudi officials have downplayed the reports of significant deaths among pilgrims, noting that they had not observed an unusual spike in fatalities among the pilgrims. They did confirm that at least 2,700 pilgrims had been treated for heat-related injuries.


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