Note: Al Jazeera report contains graphic images
Shocked and grieved, many residents in Qatar are extending their condolences to those affected in last night’s crane collapse in Makkah’s Grand Mosque, in which at least 107 people have been killed and more than 200 injured.
Most of those inside the crowded mosque were gearing up for Hajj, which begins on Sept. 21.
The crane, one of more than a dozen around the mosque, crashed down shortly before sunset prayers on Friday.
The collapse was apparently caused by strong winds and heavy rain, Al Jazeera English reports.
It quoted Saudi Arabia’s Civil Defense director-general as saying:
“The crane collapsed near Al-Salam gate on the upper side of Al-Masaa area, and that caused the collapse of a small part of Al-Masaa and another section of Al-Mataf, the bridge area around the holy Kaaba,” Amr told Saudi state TV.
As authorities work to identify the victims, QNA states that those from Qatar who were already in Saudi for Hajj were not harmed in the crane collapse, and “all Qataris in Al Hajj are in good health.”
Because of ongoing construction to expand the Grand Mosque, Saudi slashed the number of visas granted to pilgrims this year.
Of the 19,000 who applied to go to Hajj in Qatar, only 1,200 people were granted visas, 900 of them Qatari.
Rest in peace
Last night, Qatar’s Emir, its deputy Emir and prime minister all sent their condolences to Saudi Arabia’s king, saying they were “praying upon Allah the Almighty to bestow blessing(s) upon the deceased and wishing the injured a speedy recovery.”
Qatar residents are also paying their respects to the victims and their loved ones:
Meanwhile, an investigation is being carried out to assess the damage, and the “extent of the safety of these sites,” BBC reports Saudi authorities as saying.