RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia's King Salman says "irresponsible comments" and criticism from other countries against the kingdom's handling of security during the hajj will not affect his country's oversight of the annual Islamic pilgrimage.
The pilgrimage was marred by a disaster on Sept. 24 just outside Mecca that killed at least 1,480 pilgrims when two crowds converged on a narrow street, according to an Associated Press count based on official statements from nations whose citizens died.
Iranian leaders have accused Saudi Arabia, their regional rival, of mismanagement and ineptitude.
In an apparent reference to those comments, Salman said the kingdom "will not allow any hidden hands" to politicize the tragedy and divide Muslims.
The official Saudi Press Agency reported the king's comments, made during Monday's Cabinet session in the capital Riyadh.