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Over 100 die in Mecca mosque crane collapse

Bodies strewn across part of Grand Mosque, one of Islam’s most important prayer sites

A pilgrim points at a crane that collapsed and killed dozens inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015.  (AP Photo)
A pilgrim points at a crane that collapsed and killed dozens inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. (AP Photo)

At least 100 people were killed when a construction crane crashed into the Grand Mosque of Saudi Arabia’s holy Muslim city of Mecca Friday.

Bloodied bodies were strewn across a courtyard where the top part of the crane, which appeared to have collapse or snapped, had crashed into it.

It was raining heavily at the time, and Saudi Arabia has been hit by the same sandstorm that has plagued the rest of the region.

The fall of the crane was captured in mobile phone footage.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvHlkGAloIc

The incident occurred as hundreds of thousands of Muslims gather from all over the world for the annual hajj pilgrimage set to begin later this month.

An area is cordoned off at the Grand Mosque in Mecca after a crane collapsed killing dozens, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. The accident happened as pilgrims from around the world converged on the city, Islam's holiest site, for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which takes place this month. (Saudi Interior Ministry General Directorate of Civil Defense via AP)
An area is cordoned off at the Grand Mosque in Mecca after a crane collapsed killing dozens, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. The accident happened as pilgrims from around the world converged on the city, Islam’s holiest site, for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which takes place this month. (Saudi Interior Ministry General Directorate of Civil Defense via AP)

The Grand Mosque is usually at its most crowded on Fridays, the Muslim weekly day of prayer. It houses the Kaaba — the massive cube-shaped structure towards which Muslims worldwide pray.

A massive project is currently underway to increase the area of the mosque by 400,000 square meters (4.3 million square feet), allowing it to accommodate up to 2.2 million people at once.

The mosque is surrounded by a number of cranes.

Saudi emergency teams gather inside the Grand Mosque of Saudi Arabia's holy Muslim city of Mecca after a construction crane crashed into it on September 11, 2015, killing dozens of people. (AFP PHOTO/STR)
Saudi emergency teams gather inside the Grand Mosque of Saudi Arabia’s holy Muslim city of Mecca after a construction crane crashed into it on September 11, 2015, killing dozens of people. (AFP PHOTO/STR)

The hajj has largely been incident-free during the past few years, with Saudi Arabia investing billions of dollars in transport and other infrastructure to facilitate the movement of the huge numbers of people who take part.

Muslims circle the Kaaba, the cube-shaped structure in the city’s Grand Mosque that Muslims around the world face in prayer five times a day, on a new raised walkway in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013 (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Muslims circle the Kaaba, the cube-shaped structure in the city’s Grand Mosque that Muslims around the world face in prayer five times a day, on a new raised walkway in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013 (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

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