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Iranian task force pursuing fate of missing Mina victims: Diplomat

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. PressTV

A task force at the Iranian Foreign Ministry is following up on the fate of the Iranians who went missing in the September 24 deadly crush during Hajj rituals in Mina, near the holy Saudi city of Mecca, says an Iranian diplomat.

The committee, which groups members from the ministry as well as other relevant institutions, is following up on the fate of all Iranians unaccounted for, including former Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi and diplomat Ahmad Fahima, said Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in an interview with IRNA.

The task force will press ahead with its work until the fate of all those missing in the tragic event is established, he said.

Saudi Arabia claims nearly 770 people were killed in the incident, but officials at Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization say about 4,700 people lost their lives. The bodies of 399 Iranian victims have so far been handed over to Iranian officials, according to Sa’eed Ohadi, the head of the organization. Ohadi said on Sunday that 65 Iranians are still missing after the incident.

A new tally by the Associated Press (AP) shows that at least 1,453 people were killed in the incident. The AP count is larger by 684 than the official toll of 769 provided by Riyadh.

Iran has slammed Riyadh’s handling of the incident and its aftermath, and has laid the blame on the kingdom’s “incompetence” in managing the highly-significant ritual. PressTV

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