UK Government expresses condolences over Mecca tragedy

The Foreign Secretary has expressed his condolences after more than 700 people taking part in the Hajj pilgrimage were killed in a stampede, near the holy city of Mecca.

The Holly Ka'ba, a central part of the Mecca pilgrimage (Credit: Camera Eye on Flickr)
The Holly Ka'ba, a central part of the Mecca pilgrimage (Credit: Camera Eye on Flickr)

In a Foreign & Commonwealth Office press release issued yesterday, Philip Hammond said: "I was saddened to hear of the enormous loss of life in Mecca. My thoughts are with families and victims at this difficult time. Such a significant tragedy will affect Muslims across the world who take part in the Hajj pilgrimage.

"Our staff remain in close contact with the Saudi authorities and tour operators, and are checking hospitals and other locations to urgently gather information about British nationals who may require assistance."

He added that the Government is sending further staff from the region to bolster its response.

Around two million people were taking part in the pilgrimage. As well as at least 717 deaths, a further 863 people were injured, according to the BBC.

The FCO has pinned a tweet to the top of its Twitter account advising UK citizens what to do if they are worried about friends or family in Mecca.

Meanwhile, King Salman of Saudi Arabia has ordered an urgent review to improve levels of organisation around the pilgrimage.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn also added messages of condolence on Twitter.

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