Mon Oct 12, 2015 07:01PM
Rescue teams evacuate the victims of a Hajj crush in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, on September 24, 2015. (AFP photo)
Rescue teams evacuate the victims of a Hajj crush in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, on September 24, 2015. (AFP photo)

A Nigerian Hajj authority says the number of the country's pilgrims killed in the deadly crush during Hajj rituals in Mina, Saudi Arabia, has reached 145.

Saleh Oknewa from the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria said on Sunday that 165 of Nigerians are still unaccounted for after the deadly human crush.  

He also told reporters in Mecca that seven of 42 injured pilgrims remain in different hospitals in Saudi Arabia.

The tragic incident took place on September 24 after two large masses of pilgrims converged at a crossroads in Mina, a few kilometers east of the holy city of Mecca, during the symbolic ceremony of the stoning of Satan in Jamarat.

Saudi Arabia claims nearly 770 people were killed in the incident, but officials at Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization say about 4,700 people lost their lives. The bodies of 399 Iranian victims have so far been handed over to Iranian officials, according to Sa’eed Ohadi, the head of the organization. Ohadi said on Sunday that 65 Iranians are still missing after the incident.

A new tally by the Associated Press (AP) shows that at least 1,453 people were killed in the incident. The AP count is larger by 684 than the official toll of 769 provided by Riyadh.

Iran has slammed Riyadh’s handling of the incident and its aftermath, and has laid the blame on the kingdom’s “incompetence” in managing the highly-significant ritual.