Bus crash leaves 35 foreign pilgrims dead in Saudi province of Medina

Thirty-five people were killed and four injured after a passenger bus collided with a truck in the Saudi province of Medina.

The private bus carried 39 pilgrims from Asian and Arab countries, collided with a “heavy vehicle” in the town of al-Akhal on Wednesday. Saudi Press Agency reported that the crash happened around 7pm local time on the road linking Mecca to the city of Medina.

The injured have been transferred to Al-Hamna Hospital, while the authorities have launched an investigation.

This latest accident comes after four British pilgrims were killed and 12 others injured in Saudi Arabia when their bus collided with a fuel tanker in April 2018.

In order to diversify its oil-dependent economy, the ultra-conservative kingdom wants to foster a year-round religious tourism sector that includes millions of pilgrims.

Up until last month, the country only issued visas to Muslim pilgrims, foreign workers and recently to spectators at sporting or cultural events, but tourists are now allowed to visit as part of the drive to prepare the biggest Arab economy for a post-oil era.

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