Iran detains five people over the recent death in the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad of four Saudi pilgrims due to poisoning, Judiciary Spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejei says.
Addressing reporters in a press conference in Tehran on Monday, Mohseni-Ejei said a special inspector has looked into the incident and carried out necessary measures.
“In total, 24 people were poisoned, a number of whom were discharged [from hospital] after receiving treatment and some others are also under treatment. Four people also lost their lives,” he added.
According to Iran’s Health Minister Hassan Hashemi, the incident on Sunday happened as a result of fumigation in an apartment hotel in the holy city of Mashhad in Khorasan Razavi Province where a group of Saudi pilgrims were staying. The Saudi nationals were hospitalized with poisoning symptoms. Four Saudi children lost their lives despite extensive treatment by Iranian medical staff.
“Interrogation of the hotel’s staff and officials started immediately and five people are currently under arrest,” Mohseni-Ejei said.
He added that no evidence showing the incident was intentional has been found yet, stressing, “However, this statement is not definite.”
The judiciary spokesman noted that biopsies from the dead as well as samples of food and water and the air at the site were taken, noting that the exact cause of the incident would be announced Tuesday.
Mashhad is the spiritual capital of Iran and it owes its significance to the Imam Reza shrine, which draws millions of pilgrims from around the world every year.