Thursday, January 12, 2006


Metaphor


Hundreds of people were killed when a crowd of Muslims freaked out and stampeded each other to death:


MINA, Saudi Arabia - Thousands of Muslim pilgrims rushing to complete a symbolic stoning ritual during the hajj tripped over luggage Thursday, causing a crush in which at least 345 people were killed, the Interior Ministry said.

The stampede occurred as tens of thousands of pilgrims headed toward al-Jamarat, a series of three pillars representing the devil that the faithful pelt with stones to purge themselves of sin.

Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki said 345 people were killed. More than 1,000 people were injured, said Dr. Abbasi with the Saudi Red Crescent.

Footage from the scene showed lines of bodies laid out on stretchers on the pavement and covered with sheets. Ahmed Mustafa, an Egyptian pilgrim, said he saw bodies taken away in refrigerator trucks.

An Egyptian pilgrim, Suad Abu Hamada, heard screaming and "saw people jumping over each other."
"The bodies were piled up. I couldn't count them, they were too many," she said.


The site is a notorious bottleneck for the massive crowds that attend the annual hajj pilgrimage and has seen deadly stampedes in the past, including one in 1990 that killed 1,426 people and another in February 2004 that killed 244.