The deputy chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces suggested Monday that the deadly Mecca crane collapse and hajj stampede were orchestrated by Israel and Saudi Arabia.
At least 107 people were killed and 238 injured when a crane collapsed on the Grand Mosque during a storm on September 11. The head of Saudi Arabia’s civil defense directorate said high winds caused the incident, which also led to the death of a top Iranian scientist. Last week, over 700 people were trampled to death during the annual hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, including some 150 Iranian nationals.
Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazzayeri linked the two incidents and said Israel and Saudi Arabia were likely behind both.
“Given the usurper Zionist regime’s infiltration and influence on the al-Saud, there is a growing possibility that the crane crash incident at the Grand Mosque (in the holy city of Mecca) and the death of thousands of people in Mina were the result of deliberate crime,” Jazzayeri told the semi-official Fars News Agency.
“Given the eyewitness accounts and the increasing possibility that the two painful and regrettable incidents at the Grand Mosque and Mina have been the result of intentional action, fact-finding groups from all Muslim states have the responsibility to decrypt this al-Saud’ crime,” he added.
The news report also said the stampede “killed 2,000 people and left 2,000 wounded on Thursday,” contradicting the official death toll. President Hassan Rouhani made a similar comment on Monday, saying thousands had died. Rouhani did not elaborate on specific numbers nor provide the source for his figures.
AP contributed to this report.