As the stampede in Mina, on the outskirts of the holy city of Mecca during Hajj pilgrimage on September 24, killed at least 753 pilgrims and injured more than 800, new allegations surfaced regarding the cause of the stampede that shocked Muslims and the world during the Eid al-Adha holiday.
An article published on New York Times (NYT) claimed that some exits near the stampede area were temporarily closed by security forces to allow V.I.P cars to pass, leading to an unexpected number of pilgrims to pile up and to the stampede itself.
NYT quoted Khalid Saleh, a Saudi government employee, who claimed that pilgrims told him that the exits were closed.
Lebanon based ad-Diyar daily claimed that Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Muhammad bin Salman, son of King Salman and second in line to the throne, came to the area with a large convoy of at least 350 men and used the wrong direction, causing the pilgrims to change their usual route.
Ad-Diyar is known for its support for Hezbollah, Assad regime and Iran. Since the stampede, Iran, who lost over 140 of its citizens in the incident and Saudi Arabia's main rival in the region, harshly criticized the Saudi authorities for the incident. Iran has also expressed interest to take part in the investigation committee.
Although Saudi Arabia is officially involved with the war in Yemen against Houthi rebels, two countries have long been accused of waging a proxy war in Yemen.
Meanwhile, similar allegations regarding the failure and a cover up by Saudi authorities was also voiced by the Twitter account @Mujtahidd, known for leaking controversial information about Saudi royals, exposing unconfirmed conspiracies and power struggles between Saudi princes. The account has nearly 2 million followers on Twitter, almost the same audience of its Turkish version, Fuat Avni.
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