Mecca stampede
Muslim pilgrims pray on Mount Mercy on the plains of Arafat during the annual haj pilgrimage, outside the holy city of Mecca. (representation pic.)Reuters File

The tragic Haj stampede that claimed over 700 lives in Mina, Saudi Arabia, on Thursday has now led to a blame game, with Saudi authorities reportedly accusing "African pilgrims", while Iran demanding that the Saudi rulers take responsibility. 

Saudi prince Prince Khaled al-Faisal, who heads the central Haj committee, said that "some pilgrims with African nationalities" were responsible for the stampede, Al Arabiya TV reported. 

Other Saudi officials also put the blame on pilgrims, claiming that they moved "without respecting the timetables". 

"If the pilgrims had followed instructions, this type of accident could have been avoided," health minister Khaled al-Falih reportedly said. 

However, Saudi Arabia's neighbour foe Iran, which lost nearly 100 nationals in the Mina stampede, blamed the government for the tragedy. 

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei accused the kingom's leaders for failing to take necessary steps to prevent the tragedy as lakhs of Muslims converged for the Haj pilgrimage on the day of Eid al-Adha. 

Iran's Haj organisation flayed Saudi rulers for one of the worst tragedies to hit the Haj pilgrimage in decades. 

"Today's incident shows mismanagement and lack of serious attention to the safety of pilgrims. There is no other explanation. The Saudi officials should be held accountable," Said Ohadi, head of the organisation, reportedly said. 

He said that at least 95 Iranians had been killed and over 150 had been injured in the stampede.

Muslims from several nations were crushed to death as a stampede broke out as the pilgrims were arriving in the tent city of Mina for the traditional stone-throwing ritual during Haj. 

At least 14 Indians were killed in the crush, India's foreign ministry said on Friday.

The stampede occurred just two weeks after a deadly crane crash at the Grand Mosque in Mecca killed more than 100 pilgrims.