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At least 52 people killed after crane collapses in Makkah's Grand Mosque

MECCA, SAUDI ARABIA - JANUARY 17: Muslim pilgrims pray at the holy Kaaba at Mecca's Grand Mosque during the annual hajj rituals January 17, 2005 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Officials say over 1.6 million worshippers have come from abroad for this year's haj, a once-in-a-lifetime duty for every able-bodied Muslim. (Photo by Abid Katib/Getty Images)

At least 52 people were killed when a crane crashed in Makkah’s Grand Mosque on Friday, Saudi Arabia’s Civil Defense authority said on its Twitter account, an accident that came just weeks before the Muslim annual hajj pilgrimage.

The situation is still developing so the final count of the dead may increase.

Pictures circulating on social media showed pilgrims in bloodied robes and masses of debris from a part of the crane that seemed to have crashed through a ceiling.

Saudi authorities go to great lengths to be prepared for the millions of Muslim who converge on Makkah to preform the sacred pilgrimage.

Last year, the kingdom reduced the numbers permitted to perform hajj for safety reasons because of construction work to enlarge the Grand Mosque.

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