By Ninder Kaur

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Rescue workers treat a pilgrim after hundreds of people were crushed to death

At least 453 people taking part in the Hajj pilgrimage have been killed in a stampede near the Islamic holy city of Mecca.

Another 719 people were injured in the incident at Mina, which occurred as two million pilgrims were taking part in the Hajj’s last major rite.

Saudi Arabia’s civil defence 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.

The Saudi civil defence directorate said on Twitter that 4,000 personnel had been sent to the scene of Thursday’s stampede, along with more than 220 emergency and rescue units. The injured are being taken to four hospitals in the area.

The tragedy happened as pilgrims converged onMina to throw stones at pillars representing the devil.

Earlier this month a crane collapsed at Mecca’s Grand Mosque killing 109 people.