717 people dead: What caused the deadly stampede at the Hajj? – CNN

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(CNN)Bodies piled upon bodies. A few people still moving while others appear lifeless. Rescue workers struggling to reach those still alive by pulling the dead out of the way.

A day after a deadly crush killed 717 people during the Hajj in Saudi Arabia, a critical question remained Friday: What caused the chaotic stampede?

Saudi officials are trying to figure out what went horribly wrong this week during the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca and Mina. Some who made the journey said various factors may have played a role.

Too many people, too little time

More than 2 million Muslims from around the world are in Saudi Arabia for the Hajj, a pilgrimage that all Muslims who have the financial and physical ability make at some point in their lives. Many save for decades to make the journey.

The millions of people must perform a litany of rituals in five days, including the symbolic stoning of the devil in Mina, about 2 miles away from Mecca.

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