Death toll from Hajj stampede near Mecca rises to 717

The death toll from Thursday's stampede during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia has risen to at least 717.

The Saudi Civil Defense said the number of victims stood at 717 dead and 863 injured by 3:50 p.m. local time. An unknown number of foreigners are known to be among those killed, including at least 43 Iranian citizens, according to Iran's ISNA news agency.

The stampede happened at around 9 a.m. in Mina, located between Mount Arafat and Mecca's Grand Mosque, when several groups of pilgrims suddenly converged at an intersection. It occurred as pilgrims were participating in a ritual in which stones are thrown at pillars that represent the devil.

Other groups of pilgrims are being re-routed and hundreds of emergency workers remained at the site on Thursday afternoon, civil defense officials say.

Thursday's stampede comes less than two weeks after a construction crane collapsed at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killing 107 people and injuring 238 others.

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