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The world’s deadliest stampedes


EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / This handout photo obtained from the Israeli Behadrei Haredim on April 30, 2021 shows security officials and rescuers gathering around the corpses of victims who died in a stampede overnight during a religious gathering in Meron in northern Israel near the reputed tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a second-century Talmudic sage, where mainly ultra-Orthodox Jews flock to mark the Lag BaOmer holiday. – The massive stampede at the densely packed Jewish pilgrimage site killed at least 44 people in northern Israel on Friday, with rescue workers facing chaotic crowds while trying to evacuate the injured. (Photo by Handout and Ishay JERUSALEMITE / Behadrei Haredim / AFP) / Israel OUT / XGTY / EDITORS NOTE: Faces have been blurred from the source United Hatzalah /

At least 44 people were crushed to death Friday in a stampede at a densely packed Jewish pilgrimage site in northern Israel, one of the worst tragedies in the country’s history.


Here are some of the deadliest stampedes in recent decades — all at religious gatherings.

Worst-ever hajj disaster
More than 2,300 worshippers were killed at the annual Islamic pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in 2015 after a stampede during the “stoning of the devil” ritual in Mina on September 24.

It was the worst hajj disaster ever.

Pilgrims from 30 countries perished though Saudi Arabia never updated an initial death toll of 769.

Tunnel stampede
In another hajj tragedy, 1,426 mostly Asian pilgrims perished on July 2, 1990, trampled underfoot and asphyxiated in a tunnel at Mina after a ventilation system failed.

The pilgrims from Malaysia, Indonesia and Pakistan were also there for the ritual stoning of the devil.

According to the authorities, panic set in inside an already hugely overcrowded tunnel when seven pilgrims fell from a bridge.


Witnesses said a power outage paralysed the tunnel’s two powerful ventilators.

Indian tragedies
Two stampedes in as many months in India in 2008 left more than 370 Hindus dead.

At the first in August, about 150 worshippers, many of them children, were killed in a temple stampede in northern Himachal Pradesh state.

Then a month later some 224 died as the faithful rushed to reach a hilltop temple in the northern city of Jodhpur.

Further stampedes during Hindu pilgrimages in Kerala in 2011 and Madhya Pradesh two years claimed 217 lives.

Bloody day in Baghdad
Some 1,000 people died in a stampede on the Al-Aimmah bridge over the Tigris River in Baghdad during a Shia pilgrimage in 2005.

Hundreds of women, children and elderly people were trampled underfoot or jumped to their deaths after a panic sparked by rumours that a suicide bomber was among the vast crowd.


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