There's strange news coming — and being redacted — from the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Heath about the death toll of Saturday's Hajj stampede in Mina.
As the baffling fatality numbers have shown, this is the worst disaster to strike Hajj since 1990. But just how large those numbers are is a debate still raging days after the accident.
The ministry's Arabic website said Tuesday some 4,000 people died in the crush. The announcement's since been wiped from the page, but not before people (including Al Bawaba) managed to capture a screen shot. See it below.
Here's the translation:
The Saudi Deputy Minister of Health Mohamed Aldowale stated that the ministry handed over a photo album with photos of 4,173 pilgrims who passed away in Mena accident, and the process of Identifying the bodies has started.
He also added that the big number of death was due to heat, suffocation and stampede, according to the report by the Minister of Health.
The primary statistics indicated 769 deaths however our final numbers have increased to 4173 deaths after the ministry received several more bodies yesterday.
Despite all the rumors and news in the media, the ministry would like to reconfirm that this site and its social media handles are the only reliable and formal sources for official statements.
@HamadAlDhewalia الاخ نائب وزير الصحه هل هذا الموقع تابع لكم لأن التصريح منتشر على لسانك ويتم الترويج بأنه موقع رسمي pic.twitter.com/ekSfo1RY8f— عبدالله البريكي (@AbAlburiki) September 29, 2015
Translation: Hamad al-Dhewalia, is this from the ministry website? The statement is attributed to you, and the site looks like the ministry's official one. and the site looks as the formal one.
Between this and US's foggy statements on the Syrian rebel train-and-equip program, what's going on with government pages this week?
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