Wire Service: AP
On January 12, 2006 the Associated Press reported, "Thousands of Muslim pilgrims rushing to complete a symbolic stoning ritual during the hajj tripped over luggage Thursday, causing a crush in which at least 345 people were killed despite Saudi attempts to prevent stampedes that have plagued the annual event. The stampede occurred as tens of thousands of pilgrims headed toward al-Jamarat, a series of three pillars representing the devil that the faithful pelt with stones to purge themselves of sin. Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki said 345 people were killed. More than 1,000 people were injured, said Dr. Abbasi with the Saudi Red Crescent... The site is a notorious bottleneck for the massive crowds that attend the annual hajj pilgrimage and has seen deadly stampedes in the past, including one in 1990 that killed 1,426 people and another in February 2004 that killed 244. Seven of the past 17 yearly pilgrimages have seen deadly incidents at al-Jamarat... The stampede happened as pilgrims were rushing to complete the last of three days of the stoning ritual before sunset, said Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki. Some of the pilgrims began tripping over dropped baggage, causing a large pileup, he said."