MUZDALIFA, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – Some two million Muslims headed to Muzdalifa on Thursday after spending the day at the plain of Arafat to prepare to cast stones at the devil in the most dangerous part of the annual haj pilgrimage.
Bright weather greeted the pilgrims after heavy rain hit the nearby city of Jeddah, gateway to Mecca, on Wednesday. Some 77 people were killed, none of them pilgrims, most of whom were swept away by currents and drowned, state television said.
At Muzdalifa, the pilgrims will collect pebbles to throw at walls at the Jamarat Bridge on three occasions over the next three days in an act that symbolizes the rejection of the devil’s temptations.
The bridge has been the scene of a number of deadly stampedes — 362 people were crushed to death there in 2006 in the worst haj tragedy since 1990…