Saudi authorities say 345 Muslim pilgrims were killed during a stampede near Mecca on the final day of the sacred hajj rituals.
The Interior Ministry says the pilgrims died on the Jamarat Bridge, where tens of thousands of people gathered to throw stones at three pillars symbolizing the devil. Officials say at least 250 more people were injured. They said some people were trampled after they tripped on luggage brought by pilgrims Thursday. The stone-throwing ritual has been marred by stampedes in the past, including one that killed 240 pilgrims two years ago. Saudi authorities redesigned access to the ritual site and deployed 60-thousand security personnel this year in an effort to avoid such accidents.
Last week, 76 people died when their hostel in Mecca collapsed before the pilgrimage began.