1987 Mecca Incident

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Hajj pilgrims' massacre of 1987

The 1987 Mecca incident (Arabic: حادثة مکة) refers to the massacre of hajj pilgrims in Mecca by Saudi Arabian forces. The massacre took place on days of hajj al-tamattu' in 1987 during the demonstrations known as "Dissociation from the Polytheists." According to a statement by the Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in this event 325 Iranians, mostly women, were killed. Moreover, according to a statement by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior, forty five pilgrims from other countries were also killed. The event led to a strong reaction by Iranian officials, including Imam Khomeini, and in its consequence, political ties between the two countries were severed and the dispatching of Iranian hajj pilgrims to Arabia was halted.

Massacre of Hajj Pilgrims

On Friday, August 2, 1987, coincident with Dhu l-Hijja 6[1], 1407, during the demonstrations of Dissociation from the Polytheists on days of hajj, the Arabian police attacked the demonstrators, and according to reports by media in Islamic Republic of Iran, they threw stones and bricks to hajj pilgrims from roofs of buildings surrounding the path of the demonstrators. After that, the Saudi police targeted hajj pilgrims with poison gasses and guns.

In his diaries, Ezzatullah Sahabi points out the complicity of People's Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) in the event.

The event is deemed the biggest massacre of hajj pilgrims during hajj rituals in the contemporary history. It is also known as the Bloody Friday.


According to the official statement of Saudi Ministry of Interior, in this event 275 Iranian hajj pilgrims, eighty five Arabian nationals, including police forces, and forty five pilgrims from other countries were killed, and many people were injured. The statistics was questioned by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iranian sources reported that 325 Iranians (203 women and 122 men) were killed in the event.


The killing of Iranian hajj pilgrims by Saudi Arabian police was followed by a strong reaction by Imam Khomeini, the then Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran. He believed that the event has broken the heart of the Prophet (s). Also, in his speech, he said,

Monument to the 1987's hajj martyrs in Tehran

"If we ignore the issue of al-Quds, if we forgive Saddam, if we forgive everyone who did wrong to us, we cannot forgive the Hijaz incident. The Hijaz incident is something else."

In protests against the massacre of Iranian hajj pilgrims, the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran was attacked and one of its agents was killed. After the event, ties between Iran and Arabia were severed, and Iranian hajj pilgrims were not dispatched to Arabia for four years. Moreover, the supervisor of Iranian hajj pilgrims, Mahdi Karroubi, was expelled from Saudi Arabia.

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  • The material for this article is mainly taken from حج خونین in Farsi WikiShia.
  1. August 2, 1987, coincident with Dhu l-Hijja 6 according to Saudi Hijri calendar, while in Iranian Hijri calendar it was coincided with Dhu l-Hijja 4