By Ahmet Dursun
ISTANBUL (AA) – Saudi Arabia has yet to pay compensation for last year’s deadly crane collapse at Mecca’s Grand Mosque and a subsequent Hajj stampede that together left hundreds of pilgrims dead, Saeed Ohadi, head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Authority, said Friday.
Speaking to Iran’s official IRNA news agency, Ohadi said contacts were underway with Saudi officials to ensure that families of the victims of last year’s twin tragedies were compensated in line with earlier promises by the Saudi Hajj Ministry.
On Sept. 11 of last year, 107 people were killed when a massive crane collapsed outside Mecca’s Grand Mosque, which at the time had been teeming with Hajj pilgrims.
Two weeks later, another 769 pilgrims — including 465 Iranians — were killed in a stampede in Saudi Arabia’s Mina region, located roughly 5 kilometers (3 miles) east of Mecca.
According to Ohadi, Saudi Hajj Minister Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten has promised to pay compensation to the families of the crane collapse victims before this year’s Hajj — set to begin in September — and to the families of the stampede victims after the pilgrimage.
“Saudi Arabia, however, has yet to compensate anyone in any country,” the news agency quoted Ohadi as saying.
Ohadi added that Saudi Arabia was obliged to pay compensation to the families of the victims of both incidents in accordance with Islamic law.
*Anadolu Agency correspondent Sibel Ugurlu contributed to this report from Ankara