The civil defence agency said on Twitter yesterday that emergency teams were sent to the scene after a 'crane fell at the Grand Mosque,' one of Islam's most revered sites.
Ahmed bin Mohammad al-Mansoori, spokesman for the two holy mosques, was quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency as saying part of a crane collapsed at 5:10 PM local time (1940 IST) "as a result of strong winds and heavy rains."
The incident occurred as hundreds of thousands of Muslims from all over the world gather for the annual hajj pilgrimage expected to begin on September 21.
The governor of Mecca region, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, has ordered an investigation into the incident and was heading to the mosque, the official @makkahregion page on Twitter said.
Irfan al-Alawi, co-founder of the Mecca-based Islamic Heritage Research Foundation, compared the carnage to that caused by a bomb.
He suggested authorities were negligent by having a series of cranes overlooking the mosque.


See more pics here: Crane crashes into Mecca's Grand Mosque

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