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More than 1,000 were killed during the Hajj to Mecca

More than 1,000 were killed during the Hajj to Mecca

Many Swedes paid about 100,000 kroner for the Hajj to Mecca.

– Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam, and it is really something I was looking forward to, says a person with whom SVT Nyheter has been in contact but who does not want to reveal his name.

Once on site, it became clear early on that the logistics were much more complex than planned. The bus trip, which was supposed to take 45 minutes, took eight hours. There was constant crowding under the hot sun.

– I thought it was terrible. He says the authorities should have understood that it would end this way, as there was poor planning in terms of logistics.

Previously, trips were arranged by travel companies around the world, but after the pandemic, the Saudi state took complete control of the arrangement.

“We saw people die”

During the pilgrimage of the Swedes, they were able to see many who had suffered from heatstroke.

– There were people in wheelchairs and dead people lying on the side of the road.

According to the Saudi Ministry of Health, more than 140,000 people have received care, but the number of deaths “should not be abnormal.”

We did not see that the number of deaths went beyond the normal rate. Jamil Abu Al-Enein, director of the Saudi Ministry of Health, told Reuters that more than 140,000 people received care this Hajj season.

SVT spoke to several pilgrims who traveled from Sweden who expressed similar criticism of the Saudi authorities.

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– There is a culture of silence, as they do not want to appear outwardly as having failed. We saw people dying in the street, and they put a sheet over the bodies.