[QODLink]
Middle East

Blaze kills pilgrims in Saudi Arabia's Medina

Egyptians said to be among the dead after fire blamed on maintenance work engulfs hotel in Islam's second holiest city.

Last updated: 09 Feb 2014 02:46
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

A fire at a hotel in Islam's holy city of Medina in Saudi Arabia has left 15 pilgrims dead and injured 130 others, according to the state-run news agency SPA.

Officials quoted by SPA did not identify the victims but said about 700 pilgrims had been staying at the hotel in the western city of Medina to perform the Umrah, or minor, pilgrimage, when tragedy struck on Saturday.

Earlier the local Saudi authorities confirmed the report in a statement.

"At 2:33pm this afternoon a fire occurred at a hotel located east of the central region, home to about 700 of pilgrims of different nationalities," the Medina governorate said.

Colonel Khaled al-Juhani, a Medina civil defence department official, told al-Youm newspaper that more than 110 security personnel battled to control the blaze.

The al-Bawaba Nayouz news website quoted a Red Crescent official as saying the dead were all Egyptians.

"The fire resulted in the death of 15 ... caused by fainting, choking, bleeding and cardiac arrest and breathing. We also treated 30 cases of suffocation due to the fire," Mohammed Mahmoud Kheyat, spokesman for the Saudi Red Crescent in Medina, told the website.

Television stations in Egypt also said that Egyptians were among those who perished, and Badr Abdelatty, Foreign Ministry spokesman, said his country was "still trying to confirm the numbers" of nationals who died.

Ahmad Zaki, an employee of the Egyptian embassy in Jeddah, told the Youm al-Sabaa newspaper that there were "tens of Egyptians" among the injured and killed.

Zaki said maintenance work at the hotel led to an electrical fire.

Prince Faisal bin Salman, Medina's governor, said the government would look into the incident.

Medina is a major religious destination for Muslims. The city is the burial site of the Prophet Muhammad and is Islam's second holiest city after Mecca.

296

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
Since independence, Zimbabwe has faced food shortages, hyperinflation - and several political crises.
After a sit-in protest at Poland's parliament, lawmakers are set to raise government aid to carers of disabled youth.
A vocal minority in Ukraine's east wants to join Russia, and Kiev has so far been unable to put down the separatists.
Iran's government has shifted its take on 'brain drain' but is the change enough to reverse the flow?
Deadly attacks on anti-mining activists in the Philippines part of a global trend, according to new report.
join our mailing list