All missing Iranian Hajj pilgrims identified: Iran

All Iranian pilgrims listed as “missing” in last year’s deadly crush during Hajj rituals in Mina, near the holy Saudi city of Mecca, have been identified, the head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization says.

Saeed Ohadi said on Wednesday the case of the Iranian pilgrims unaccounted for following the Mina tragedy was closed after 65 immediate families of the victims were dispatched to Saudi Arabia to help the identification process.

Stating that some 79 Iranian pilgrims had been buried in Mecca, Ohadi said that the families of 37 buried victims wanted the bodies to be returned to the country.

The bodies of 10 Iranian pilgrims arrived in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Wednesday, he said, adding that 16 more are expected in the next few days.

The crush occurred after two large masses of pilgrims converged at a crossroads in Mina during the symbolic ceremony of the stoning of Satan in Jamarat on September 24.

Saudi Arabia claims nearly 770 people were killed in the incident, but Iranian officials say about 4,700 people lost their lives in the tragedy.

The number of the Iranian fatalities is at least 464, exceeding that of other countries.

Saudi Arabia has come under harsh criticism over its role and handling of the Mina incident.

The tragedy came days after a massive construction crane collapsed into Mecca’s Grand Mosque, killing more than 100 people and leaving over 200 others wounded. According to the figures released by Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization, 11 Iranian pilgrims were among the deceased and 32 of the injured were also Iranian nationals.