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Blaze kills 12 pilgrims in Saudi holy city hotel

By AFP - Feb 08,2014 - Last updated at Feb 08,2014

RIYADH — A fire killed 12 people and injured 130 others in a pilgrim hotel in the Saudi holy city of Medina Saturday, the state-run SPA news agency reported.

Officials did not identify the victims but said around 700 pilgrims were staying at the hotel in Medina, in western Saudi Arabia, to perform the umra.

The fire broke out in the afternoon and was brought under control a few hours later, with survivors transferred to other hotels in the city.

Authorities have launched an investigation into the cause of the blaze.

Once a year Muslims perform the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Islam’s holiest city.

But year round, they can also undertake the umra, or lesser pilgrimage, in Saudi Arabia, also home to Islam’s second-holiest site, Medina.

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