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Egyptian haj death toll rises to 672

By Thomson Reuters Jun 23, 2024 | 7:09 AM

Cairo (Reuters) – The toll of Egyptians who died taking part in the haj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, amid extreme heat, has risen to 672 while another 25 are missing, security and medical sources told Reuters on Sunday.

A crisis unit tasked with investigating the situation said in a statement on Saturday it has suspended licenses of 16 tourism companies and referred them to the public prosecutor, accusing them of being responsible for deaths it said were mainly among pilgrims not registered under the official system.

The unit, formed on Thursday and headed by prime minister Mostafa Madbouly, said 31 deaths were confirmed as a result of chronic illness among officially registered pilgrims.

(Reporting by Ahmed Mohamed Hassan, Writing by Farah Saafan, Editing by Louise Heavens)