Mecca police deny social media reports that stampede killed three pilgrims

A picture taken on Oct 11, 2013, shows Muslim pilgrims performing the Friday prayer at Mecca's Grand Mosque. Police have denied rumours circulating on social media sites that three pilgrims were killed in a stampede inside the mosque. -- PHOTO:
A picture taken on Oct 11, 2013, shows Muslim pilgrims performing the Friday prayer at Mecca's Grand Mosque. Police have denied rumours circulating on social media sites that three pilgrims were killed in a stampede inside the mosque. -- PHOTO: AFP

MECCA - Police have denied rumours circulating on social media sites that three pilgrims were killed in a stampede inside the Grand Mosque.

Officials clarified that four people sustained injuries after they were caught up in a melee, Arab News website reported on Friday.

"Three of them - all women - were treated on the spot and the fourth person was transferred to a local hospital," the website quoted police spokesman Aati Al-Qurashi as saying.

According to another official, the man sustained a deep cut to his head. He said as soon as the Kaaba door was opened for the washing ceremony, there was a heavy rush of onlookers trying to get a glimpse of the inside of the Kaaba, according to the report.

"That is when the man fell down on his head," said the unnamed official.

On Thursday, Governor Prince Mishaal bin Abdullah took part in the washing ritual of the Holy Kaaba on behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.

The House of God is washed from inside twice a year in Muharram and Shaaban, the first and eighth months of the Hijri calendar.

"We are honoured that our country serves pilgrims throughout the year," said a statement issued by the General Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs, quoting the governor.

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