A fire that broke out on 8 February in Ishraq Al Madinah Hotel in the Medina province of Saudi Arabia has killed 17 people wounded 130. About 700 Umrah pilgrims of different nationalities were staying at the hotel. All surrounding hotels were evacuated to prevent an escalation of the disaster.

According to a Saudi Press Agency (SPA) report, the fire brigade and civil defense teams managed to control the fire after fighting it for several hours. Cause of the fire has not been identified yet but an investigation has been launched.

Hundreds of thousands of Umrah pilgrims from around the world are currently in Medina, which is the burial place of the Prophet Muhammad and is the second holy Islamic city after Mecca, which is home to Kaaba Mosque.

The literal meaning of Umrah is a ‘visit to a populated place.’ It is a Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, which unlike the annual Hajj pilgrimage, is not compulsory and could be performed at any time of the year.