The number of people killed in the stampede in Mecca has been revised sharply upwards to 717. Over 800 people have been injured.
The tragedy took place when tens of thousands of people panicked for an as-yet-unknown reason and surged forwards in Mina, on the outskirts of the holy shrine.
In the tightly-packed and closed-off pedestrian walkways leading into Mecca in the interests of crowd control one-way systems operate, leaving people with nowhere to go but forwards.
Thursday is a day when many of the over two million pilgrims attending the annual event are on the move, heading for the “stoning of the devil” ceremony at Jamarat.
Police say the stampede was triggered when two large groups met at a crossroads on street 204 a few kilometres east of the city itself.
Despite spending billion of euros in recent years to improve and upgrade Hajj infrastructure following a number of similar disasters, public safety remains a sensitive political issue for the Saudi Arabian authorities.