Grand Mosque stampede rumors denied
Makkah police denied rumors circulating on social media sites on Thursday that three pilgrims were killed in a stampede inside the Grand Mosque.
Officials clarified that four people sustained injuries after they were caught up in a melee.
“Three of them — all women — were treated on the spot and the fourth person was transferred to a local hospital,” said Makkah police spokesman Aati Al-Qurashi.
According to another official, the man sustained a deep cut to his head. He said as soon as the Kaaba door was opened for the washing ceremony, there was a heavy rush of onlookers trying to get a glimpse of the inside of the Kaaba. “That is when the man fell down on his head.”
Earlier, Makkah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Abdullah took part in the washing ritual of the Holy Kaaba on behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
The House of God is washed from inside twice a year in Muharram and Shaaban, the first and eighth months of the Hijri calendar.
“We are honored that our country serves pilgrims throughout the year,” said a statement issued by the General Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs quoting the governor.
The governor was welcomed by Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, head of the presidency, and Mohammed Al-Khozaim, vice-president, said the statement.
The governor performed prayers at the Grand Mosque and then went on to wash the inside of the Kaaba with zamzam water mixed with “oud” perfume and rose water with companions.
Culture and Information Minister Abdulaziz Khoja, Makkah Mayor Osama Al-Bar and several princes, ministers, members of the diplomatic corps and a group of citizens also participated in the washing ritual.