Iran says death toll of nationals in haj crush rises to 464

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 01, 2015 3:28 AM

DUBAI (Reuters) - The number of Iranians killed in a crush at the annual haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia last week has risen to 464, the Iran Haj and Pilgrimage Organization said on Thursday

That makes the disaster Iran's deadliest since more than 600 people died in an earthquake in 2005.

"Seven days after the incident and after visiting hospitals [in Saudi Arabia] ... we sadly announce that number of Iranians who died is 464," the Haj Organization said in a statement published on state TV website IRIB.

Iran had said 239 of its citizens were killed during the crush in Mina, outside the Muslim holy city of Mecca, last Thursday and that 200 other pilgrims were missing.

Ali Marashi, head of the Iranian Red Crescent medical center in Tehran said Iran had given up hope that any of those missing were still alive.

Iranian officials have alleged the overall total death toll in the crush on Thursday near Mecca is more than 1,000. Saudi Arabia has confirmed the deaths of 769 people.

(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Catherine Evans)