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Police probe Frenchman suicide in Grand Mosque

Travel booking shows he planned to stay five days in Saudi Arabia

Gulf News

Manama: The man who jumped to his death at the Grand Mosque in Makkah on Friday evening was a French national of Algerian origin, Saudi media reported.

The 26-year-old arrived in Saudi Arabia last week and was due to spend five days in the kingdom, Saudi news site Sabq reported.

He landed at Prince Mohammad Airport in Madina where he spent one day before heading to Makkah, 420km to the south, where Umrah rituals are performed at the Grand Mosque.

The man reportedly stayed in an hotel in Al Aziziyah neighbourhood in Makkah.

News site Al Marsad posted a video showing the man asking security officers to let him shake hands with one of the imams walking inside the mosque.

The imam asked the officers to let him approach and the video showed the man kissing the religious figure on both cheeks.

Late on Friday, officials said a man jumped from the roof of the mosque following the Isha (evening) prayers on Friday and fell in the Kaaba circumambulation area where worshippers were circling the sacred edifice or waiting for the Taraweeh prayers.

Red Crescent medics dealt with the case and rushed him to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. No one was injured on the ground.

Initial reports said that the man who jumped to his death was an Asian living in the kingdom.

Investigators are looking into the reasons that pushed the man to commit suicide in the vicinity of Kaaba, considered by Muslims as the most sacred place on earth.

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