The first day of Eid al-Adha began with somberness after least 717 people were killed and another 863 were injured in a stampede near Mecca, Saudi Arabia Thursday morning. The stampede deaths occurred at an intersection in Mina around 9 a.m. as millions of Muslims were making their hajj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca. The stampede has been the deadliest hajj-related accident since 1,426 pilgrims died in 1990 during a stampede in a tunnel linking Mecca and Mina. The Saudi civil defense directorate reported the deaths on Twitter and said that two medical centers had been opened in Mina to treat injured pilgrims, according to The New York Times. While the Saudi government has received criticism for the lack in infrastructure in the holy city, Muslims are left to mourn lives lost and to continue the hajj ¬– one of the five pillars of Islam. The tragedy has been somewhat downplayed by the Saudi government as officials noted that Islam dictates any Muslim who perishes during the pilgrimage goes to heaven, making the fallen martyrs. Nonetheless, the stampede is an unfortunate loss leaving many around the world mourning the dead. Eid al-Adha is the second of two major Muslim holidays and attracts millions of pilgrims to Mecca per year. To learn more about Eid al-Adha, visit our Islam Deily page. Learn how to cope with grief on our Deily page. The hajj is also being covered in real-time on Snapchat, allowing users to view the holy event.
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