More details have emerged about San Bernardino attackers Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik.
They began their relationship online and then met at the 2013 Hajj pilgrimage, according to a visa application.
According to Syed Farook’s fiancée visa application, he and Tashfeen Malik made contact on a website, emailed and then decided to meet.
Their parents met in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, during the annual pilgrimage.
Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik got engaged the day their parents met and planned to marry within a month of Malik arriving in the US.
The US House Judiciary Committee has released visa documents, detailing Tashfeen Malik’s processing into the US, after some lawmakers criticized the progress.
Authorities say the two opened fire at a work luncheon for Syed Farook’s colleagues in the San Bernardino public health department on December 2, killing 14 people.
Hours later, police tracked the couple to their home, and they died in a shootout. The mass shooting was the deadliest terrorist attack in the US since 9/11.
Tashfeen Malik’s file has copies of her Saudi passport stamps and visas, along with a statement from Syed Farook detailing how they met and when they planned to marry.
Her visa issuance is still the subject of investigation. She was born in Pakistan but grew up in Saudi Arabia, returning to Pakistan to pursue a pharmacy degree at Bahauddin Zakariya University.
Tashfeen Malik, 29, pledged allegiance to ISIS on the day of the shooting.
Syed Farook, 28, had worked for the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health for five years and the couple had just had a baby. They left the child with its grandmother the day of the shooting.
He prayed daily at the Islamic Center of Riverside, California, but no one seemed to think he had extremist views.
Tashfeen Malik’s admission to the US has sparked debate among US lawmakers about immigration and visa processes.
Congressman Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, said immigration officials did not “thoroughly vet” Tashfeen Malik’s application.
He said the application did not show sufficient evidence the two had met in person, and that more evidence had been requested, but it was not provided and she still had her visa approved.
The State Department has said that “all required procedures were followed in the K-1 visa case for Ms Malik”.
The number of Iranian citizens who died in the Hajj stampeded in Saudi Arabia last week has reached 464 – nearly double the previous toll, Iranian officials say.
Iranian authorities said there was no longer hope of finding any of the country’s missing pilgrims alive.
According to Saudi officials, 769 people died in the crush in Mina, near Mecca, and 934 were injured.
The Saudis have been criticized over their handling of security and for the slow publication of casualty figures.
Iranian officials allege that the overall number of deaths is now more than 1,000. Pakistan, India, and Indonesia have also suggested death toll may be higher than the 769 reported by Saudi Arabia.
Saudi authorities have not released a breakdown of victims by nationality, but a tally of the numbers of dead released by individual countries adds up to more than the official figure.
The crush occurred as two large groups of pilgrims converged at right angles on the way to taking part in one of the Hajj’s major rites at the Jamarat pillars.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called on Saudi Arabia to apologize for the deadly stampede and warned of “harsh” measures if the kingdom fails to promptly repatriate the bodies of Iran’s dead.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has accused Iran of “playing politics” with the disaster and called on the Islamic Republic to await the outcome of an investigation ordered by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman.
Saeed Ohadi, the head of Iran’s Hajj department, told state television that Iranian officials are trying to return bodies of Iranian pilgrims “as soon as possible”.
He said Iran and Saudi Arabia have agreed not to bury any of the dead in Saudi Arabia without prior permission by Iran or the families of the deceased.
Saudi officials have blamed pilgrims for the stampede, suggesting some had “moved without following instructions by the relevant authorities”.
The Hajj disaster was the second to strike the region in two weeks, after a crane collapsed at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killing 109 people.
Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin-Abdullah al-Sheikh has said Thursday’s stampede that killed 717 people at the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca was beyond human control.
The country’s most senior cleric told the interior minister, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, that he was not to blame for the tragedy.
Iran and several other countries have criticized Saudi authorities for the way they handled safety issues.
It was the deadliest incident to occur during the pilgrimage in 25 years.
King Salman of Saudi Arabia has ordered a safety review.
Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin-Abdullah al-Sheikh was visited by the crown prince, who is also deputy prime minister and chairman of the Supreme Hajj Committee, on September 25, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
“You are not responsible for what happened,” the grand mufti said, the SPA reported.
“As for the things that humans cannot control, you are not blamed for them. Fate and destiny are inevitable.”
The cleric’s remarks came after Iran’s Supreme National Security Council accused the Saudis of “incompetence” and urged them to “take responsibility” for the deaths.
Iran has so far reported the greatest number of deaths among foreign nationals – 131.
Voices from other countries are also demanding answers from the Saudis, and the king’s promise of an investigation and review has done little to still the clamor for greater accountability.
The crush occurred on September 24 as two million pilgrims were taking part in the Hajj’s last major rite.
The pilgrims throw seven stones at pillars called Jamarat, which stand at the place where Satan is believed to have tempted the Prophet Abraham.
With temperatures around 46C, two massive lines of pilgrims converged on each other at right angles at an intersection close to the five-storey Jamarat Bridge in Mina, a large valley about 3 miles from Mecca.
It is also the second disaster to strike in two weeks, after a crane collapsed at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killing 109 people.
King Salman of Saudi Arabia has ordered a safety review for the annual Hajj pilgrimage after at least 717 people died in a stampede near the holy city of Mecca.
Another 863 people were injured in the incident at Mina, which occurred as two million pilgrims were taking part in the Hajj’s last major rite.
It is the deadliest incident to occur during the pilgrimage in 25 years.
King Salman said there was a need “to improve the level of organization and management of movement” of pilgrims.
The crush occurred after two massive lines of pilgrims converged on each other from different direction at an intersection close to the Jamarat Bridge in Mina.
As part of the Hajj, pilgrims travel to Mina, a large valley about 3 miles from Mecca, to throw seven stones at pillars called Jamarat, which represent the devil. The pillars stand where Satan is believed to have tempted the Prophet Abraham.
The crush is the second disaster to strike in two weeks, after a crane collapsed at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killing 109 people.
Photo Getty Images
Offering condolences to the relatives of the dead and injured, King Salman said: “We have instructed concerned authorities to review the operations plan and to raise the level of organization and management to ensure that the guests of God perform their rituals in comfort and ease.”
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayyef, who chairs the Hajj committee, has begun an inquiry into the tragedy.
Interior ministry spokesman, Major General Mansour al-Turki, said the reason for the unusual number of pilgrims at the site of the disaster was “not known yet”.
Health Minister Khaled al-Falih promised a “fast” investigation and said the crush occurred “perhaps because some pilgrims moved without following instructions by the relevant authorities”.
Iran has fiercely criticized Saudi Arabia’s handling of the pilgrimage.
Announcing three days of national mourning, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said: “The Saudi government should accept the responsibility of this sorrowful incident… Mismanagement and improper actions have caused this catastrophe.”
The disaster began at 09:00 local time on September 24.
Gen. Mansour al-Turki said: “The great heat and fatigue of the pilgrims contributed to the large number of victims.”
The temperature in Mina was 46C on September 24.
Photographs showed the bodies of dozens of pilgrims on the ground, some piled high. They were all dressed in the simple white garments worn during the Hajj.
Pope Francis, who is visiting the US, expressed his “sentiments of closeness” with Muslims, during a prayer service at St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.
More than 700 people taking part in this year’s Hajj pilgrimage have been killed in a stampede near the Islamic holy city of Mecca, officials in Saudi Arabia say.
Besides 717 deaths, other 805 people were injured in the incident at Mina, which occurred as two million pilgrims were taking part in the Hajj’s last major rite.
They converge on Mina to throw stones at pillars representing the devil.
Preparations for the Hajj were marred when a crane collapsed at Mecca’s Grand Mosque this month, killing 109 people.
Mina, a large valley about 3 miles from Mecca, is the location of the three Jamarat pillars and also houses more than 160,000 tents where pilgrims spend the night during the pilgrimage.
The Saudi civil defense directorate said in a statement that the stampede occurred on September 24 at the junction of Street 204 and Street 223, as pilgrims walked towards the five-story structure which surrounds the pillars, known as the Jamarat Bridge.
The incident happened when there was a “sudden increase” in the number of pilgrims heading towards pillars, the statement said.
This “resulted in a stampede among the pilgrims and the collapse of a large number of them”, it added.
Security personnel and the Saudi Red Crescent were “immediately” deployed to prevent more people heading towards the area, the directorate said.
The hundreds of wounded have been taken to four hospitals in the area.
Amateur video and photographs posted on social media showed the bodies of dozens of pilgrims on the ground. They were all dressed in the simple white garments worn during the Hajj.
The civil defense directorate said the victims were of “different nationalities”, without providing details.
Iran’s state news agency, Irna, said at least 43 Iranians were among the dead.
Many pilgrims from Niger were also killed.
Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV reported that the head of the central Hajj committee, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, had blamed the stampede on “some pilgrims with African nationalities”.
The head of Iran’s Hajj organization, Said Ohadi, told Irna that two routes to the Jamarat pillars had been inexplicably closed off by the Saudi authorities, resulting in the build-up in pilgrims.
Today’s stampede was the deadliest at the Hajj since 2006, when more than 360 pilgrims were killed in the same area.
The Saudi authorities have spent billions of dollars on improving transport and other infrastructure in the area in an attempt to try to prevent such incidents.
The Hajj is the fifth and final pillar of Islam. It is the journey that every able-bodied adult Muslim must undertake at least once in their lives if they can afford it.
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