PHOTOS: Mass Carnage at Mecca

At least 717 people were crushed to death and over 800 people hurt in a stampede of pilgrims in the Muslim Hajj in Saudi Arabia. Every year there are fatalities from the mob swelling, but this is the worst one in years.

Saudi Arabia’s civil defense service said rescue operations were under way after the stampede in Mina, where almost two million pilgrims were taking part in the last major rite of the Hajj.

Pictures show bloodied men dressed in the pilgrim’s white terry cloth garments lying amidst crushed wheelchairs and shocked onlookers. Others are being carried away on stretchers.

The Hajj is the most important pilgrimage for both Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

To learn more about the Hajj, see the video below: