MECCA, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi King Salman and the imam of the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca visited those injured Friday by the deadly collapse of a giant construction crane.
Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al Sudais, the imam of the Grand Mosque, visited some of the wounded in the hospital Sunday, bringing copies of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, and bottles of water from the sacred well of Zamzam. King Salman also visited some of the wounded on Saturday evening, accompanied by his son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
At least 107 people were killed in the accident and at least 238 injured when the massive crane, which was working on an expansion of the Grand Mosque, collapsed in the midst of a fierce windstorm and crashed on top of the mosque.
The Grand Mosque and the cube-shaped Kaaba within it draw Muslims of all types from around the world throughout the year, though numbers increase significantly in the run-up to the annual hajj pilgrimage. The mosque is Islam's holiest site, and Muslims the world over pray in the direction of the Kaaba, which is also at the heart of the hajj rituals.
Performing the pilgrimage during one's lifetime is a duty for all able-bodied adult Muslims. This year's pilgrimage is expected to start around Sept. 22, but Al Sudais told the wounded that, God willing, they would be spiritually rewarded for their intention to perform the hajj if they are physically unable to make the actual pilgrimage.
Nearly 910,000 pilgrims have already arrived in the country for this year's hajj season, according to official figures.
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