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Omar Chatriwala
World News

Bishops pay tribute to Britons killed in Saudi Arabia coach crash

by Eno Adeogun

In a joint statement, the Bishop of Blackburn; Bishop of Burnley, Dean of Blackburn, Archdeacon of Lancaster, and the Archdeacon of Blackburn said: "We are deeply saddened by the terrible news today of the road accident in Saudi Arabia which has claimed the lives of four pilgrims from two towns in Lancashire.

"Christians understand the importance of making a pilgrimage - it is a time of deep significance for those making the journey. For such a terrible incident to occur at this of all times is particularly harrowing.

"Their families and friends in Preston and Blackburn can be assured of our prayers. We are also praying for everyone who has been injured in the crash."

A mother of six with 13 grandchildren is said to have been among the four Britons killed.

Another 12 British citizens were injured in the tragedy around 30 miles north of Mecca on Saturday.

Raj Begum Hussain, 70, from Blackburn, is understood to have died along with an elderly woman and her adult son, from Preston, Lancashire, and an elderly man, also from Preston.

A travel firm confirmed the coach was hit by a fuel tanker which caught fire and set the bus alight.

The victims were among 18 people on board the coach which was travelling from Mecca to Medina as part of an Umra pilgrimage.

All of the people on board were taken to hospital, where six remain.

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