Until late on Thursday, large trucks were still descending Mina's steep and narrow Street 204.

They were being filled with the remains of hundreds of pilgrims who died in the day's stampede.

Saudi security forces blocked the road to the street that saw two waves of crowds collide, resulting in more than 700 deaths and 800 injuries.

This was not the scene Muslims expect to wake up to on the first day of Eid al-Adha, a usually celebratory and festive time.

Basma Atassi

Members of the security forces formed human barriers in front of the intersection where the stampede took place, and banned journalists from filming or getting closer. But through the cracks in the human barrier they formed, one could see the street flooding with water, blood and body parts.

The sounds of sirens and roaring engines of the helicopters became Mina’s rhythm for many hours after the stampede took place. Civil defence workers were still trying to rescue people.

The filled-up trucks were parked on the side of the road in front of us. The smell was horrific.

This was not the scene Muslims expect to wake up to on the first day of Eid al-Adha, a usually celebratory and festive time.

Mina is a tent city central to the annual Hajj. It is where Muslims spend several days in camps and perform the ritual of stoning pillars that symbolise the devil.

But the barren district, located 7km from the centre of Mecca has been the scene of many tragedies over the past two decades.

A 1990 stampede inside a pedestrian tunnel killed almost 1,500 people, while stampedes in the stoning of the devil area in 1990, 1994, 1998, 2003, 2004 and 2006 claimed the lives of hundreds.

The eruption of a fire in 1997 burned thousands of tents and killed over 300 people.

For country that derives a lot of its prestige from holding Islam's largest gathering on its land and whose king is titled the Custodian of the Two Mosques (Mecca and Medina), the accidents are hugely embarrassing.

These incidents provide a good opportunity for the Saudi regime’s foes to question its worthiness of the honour.

The government spent millions of dollars to make Mina safer. It built a large parking-like building to prevent the frequent incidents during the stoning rituals and set up than 100,000 white tents in the low-lying valley that are made up of fibreglass coated with Teflon and a heat-sensitive water sprinkler.

To stop stampedes, Saudi Arabia put in place a computerised crowd control system to provide early warnings about possible incidents.

Trucks were being filled with the remains of hundreds of pilgrims who died in the stampede [Basma Atassi / Al Jazeera]

Experts say that it was too early to identify the exact case of the latest incident, but the authorities' handling of the huge crowds of almost two million Muslim pilgrims is already being questioned.

Saudi Arabia is committed to granting more Muslims the opportunity to perform Hajj and is thus embarking on yet another expansion project of the Hajj landmarks.

Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam, and each one of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims is obliged to perform it at least once in their lifetime - if they are financially and physically able.

At the current rate of people granted permission to perform Hajj, it would take 200 to 300 years for any Muslim to get the opportunity to come to Mecca.

The government says it wants to give more Muslims the chance to see Mecca, the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad, at least once in their lifetime.

Thus it could very much be that the danger of Hajj will be an inevitable characteristic of the pilgrimage's experience.

Source: Al Jazeera