US confirms “several Americans” died in Mecca pilgrimage

“We express our sincere condolences for their loss. We stand ready to provide all appropriate diplomatic assistance,” a US State Department spokesperson told Efe news agency on Friday.

After five days of religious rituals, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca ended on Wednesday, marked by soaring temperatures. 51.8 degrees Celsius.

The State Department has not yet released the exact number of U.S. citizens killed, and declined to provide additional details “out of respect for the families’ privacy.” But the spokesman said “local authorities are now responsible for determining the cause of death and issuing a death certificate”.

During this year’s Mecca pilgrimage, Egypt was by far the worst-hit country, with at least 325 deaths among worshippers, the majority due to the heat.

Both Egypt and Jordan, which have recorded at least 68 deaths among pilgrims, have announced plans to prosecute individuals and agencies that facilitated the pilgrims’ journey outside official channels.

Due to the high cost of the trip, which costs an average of 4600 euros per person, many people choose other routes, which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia considers illegal.

These unofficial pilgrims do not have access to air-conditioned facilities and tents during the pilgrimage.

On the other hand, the number of deaths among pilgrims continues to rise in Indonesia, the second country worst affected by the deaths of Muslim believers during this year’s pilgrimage, which brought together more than 1.8 million people.

At least 200 Indonesians died, although officials have not clarified the causes.

India, Pakistan, Malaysia and Bangladesh have reported 90, 35, 14 and 31 deaths respectively, according to official sources and local media.

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Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and is obligatory for all Muslims who are healthy and able to do so at least once in their lifetime.

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