Stampede breaks out among pilgrims killing 345

Muslim pilgrims tripped over dropped baggage as they rushed to carry out a stoning ritual in the &to=http://english.pravda.ru/society/2003/02/07/43108.html' target=_blank>hajj Thursday, causing a crush that killed at least 345 people in the latest stampede to mar the annual event despite Saudi attempts to ease the flow of massive crowds.

The tragedy underlined the difficulty in managing one of the biggest religious events in the world, which this year drew more than 2.5 million pilgrims.

In the stoning ritual, all the pilgrims must pass by a series of three pillars called al-Jamarat, which represent the devil and which the faithful pelt with stones to purge themselves of sin.