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Deadly stampede mars hajj ritual

©Associated Press
February 12, 2003

MINA, Saudi Arabia -- A human stampede erupted during the devil-stoning ritual at the hajj Tuesday, killing 14 people in the latest tragedy to darken the annual Muslim pilgrimage.

The ritual, where hundreds of thousands file past stone pillars representing the devil's temptations, has been the scene of lethal bottlenecks in the past.

The stampede occurred after a group of pilgrims finished the ritual and left the site as another group was entering, swelling the crowd to dangerous proportions.

The stoning ritual in Mina continues over the next two days, and Saudi authorities have set up eight medical units around the pillars to deal with any potential stampedes.

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