Saudi Binladin Group’s projects halted after Mecca mosque deaths

Saudi Arabia’s King has issued a decree halting all Saudi Binladin Group construction projects in the kingdom until a full investigation of last week’s deadly crane collapse at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, a report on state-run Saudi Arabian radio said Tuesday.

On Friday, a construction crane crashed through the roof of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killing 107 people and injuring at least 238 others days before a yearly pilgrimage that draws millions to the mosque.

The Saudi Binladin Group, a construction conglomerate founded by the father of the late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, was in charge of an expansion project at the Grand Mosque, also known as the Masjid al-Haram.

The mosque is the largest in the world and surrounds Islam’s holiest site, the Kaaba shrine. The crane fell 10 days before the start of the Hajj, an annual pilgrimage expected to bring 2 million people to Mecca.

The crane, one of many around the mosque for the expansion work, collapsed after a strong thunderstorm hit Mecca, bringing gusty winds that shifted direction and caused the local temperatures to drop, CNN meteorologists reported.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud also announced that each family who lost someone in Friday’s collapse, and each person who suffered a permanent disability, will receive 1 million riyals (about $260,000), the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.

All others injured will receive 500,000 riyals (about $130,000), the agency reported.

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