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TEHRAN, Iran – The first plane carrying bodies of Iranian pilgrims killed in the hajj stampede in Saudi Arabia arrived in Tehran Saturday, nine days after the disaster that escalated tensions between the two regional rivals.
President Hassan Rouhani and other senior officials were at the airport for the arrival of the plane, which carried 104 bodies. State TV says another flight is due later in the day.
Saudi authorities say 769 pilgrims died in the stampede near Mecca in the worst disaster to strike the annual pilgrimage in a quarter-century. Iran appears to have lost the largest number of pilgrims, with 464 dead.
Iran has blamed Saudi "mismanagement" for the stampede, which took place after two waves of pilgrims converged on a narrow street, causing hundreds to suffocate or be trampled.