At least 87 people died and 184 more were injured when a crane collapsed at the Grand Mosque of Mecca ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, the Saudi Interior Ministry said on Friday.
The Kingdom’s General Directorate of Civil Defense blamed the accident on severe storms, according to its official Twitter.

UPDATE: The latest numbers put the death toll at 107 as of 9/12/2015 .. Latest reports also show crane was owned by the Bin Laden family.

The governor of the Makkah region, the capital of which is Mecca,  Khalid al-Faisal has ordered the launch of an investigation into the causes of the accident.

The tragedy comes ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage which is due later this month. Millions of Muslims from around the world will converge on the holy city between September 21-26.

Photos taken from the scene and posted on social media show bodies lying in blood on the mosque’s floor surrounded by construction rubble and metal parts of the crane.

The project to expand the mosque was launched in 2011 by late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. Earlier in 2015, King Salman bin Abdulaziz added five construction projects as part of the mosque’s expansion aiming to accommodate more than 1.6 million worshippers.

The projects cover 1.47 million square meters and include the construction of 78 new gates at ground level, according to the official Saudi Press Agency. The project and is being carried out by the Saudi Binladin Group at an estimated cost of US$26.6 billion, according to local press.

The Grand Mosque, or Sacred Mosque, surrounds the Kaaba – the most sacred site in Islam. The cuboid structure made of granite located in the mosque’s center is often called the House of Allah.

The Kaaba is the place of the Hajj – the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, which is one of the five Pillars of Islam. It is mandatory of all Muslims physically and financially capable to carry out the journey at least once in a lifetime. The period of Hajj in Mecca is considered to be one of the largest gatherings of people in the world.

My Thoughts: Was this a message for them from an angry Allah about what is going on in the middle east and the role of Saudi Arabia in that mess? Rhetorical question of course. I dont actually think that it was Allah but the coincidence is surely interesting.



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