Mecca (UAE), Sept 24: As the death toll reaches 453 with number of injured crossing 719, the number of deaths is rising within a short span of time in the Hajj stampede in Mecca. What comes as a surprise is the comment from the head of the Central Hajj Committee who blamed the African nationals for the stampede. (Also Read: Mecca Stampede: No Indian national dead, says MEA)

As per the reports by Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV channel on Thursday, the head of the Central Hajj Committee, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, blamed the stampede on “some pilgrims from African nationalities”. As the city is filled with 20 lakh people for offering their prayers during festive season on Eid al-Adha and the stampede causing worries to the Saudis, this comment may not be pleasant to their African counterparts, who are also monitoring the situation very closely. (Also Read: Mecca Stampede: Death toll rises to 310, Indian External Affairs Ministry in contact with Jeddah consulate)

A civil defence spokesperson said that 200 ambulances have reached the spot and 4,000 people from the rescue services are participating in the operation to help the injured. As per the current reports, the Ministry of External Affairs — who were in constant contact with their consulate in Jeddah — have denied of any causality from Indian side.  (Also Read: Haj 2015: Over 150 dead in stampede in Mecca, over 400 injured)

The Indian government have also appealed to the relatives of Hajjis to have patience and have also released their toll free number. The emergency numbers in Mecca are — 00966125458000 and 00966125496000, while the toll free number for pilgrims in Kingdom is — 8002477786

Inputs taken from: Al Jazeera, Reuters