This post from AWDNews is doing the rounds on Facebook:

Saudi forces deliberately used poisonous gas during the Mecca stampede, says a Saudi expert

Mr. Hani al-Shoukri , an astute Middle-East expert and exiled political opponent in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat ,the pan-Arab daily claimed that there is irrefutable evidence indicating the Saudi security forces indeed used poisonous gas deliberately during the annual Hajj rituals in Mecca.

Reading that article, the "irrefutable evidence" in the claim seem to be:

  • "no deadly fractures"
  • victims are "at the peak of [their] strength" in terms of age (25-40)

And this is 'backed up' with statements like:

  • the "simmering power struggle between ... rival clans"
  • "particular political currents within Saudi security apparatus seek to outmaneuver their adversaries and expel them from the executive system by creating these sorts of bloody mishaps".

What I found so far:

  • AWD News seems to be a 'news' aggregation site, but their 'About Us' link is dead
  • I'm unable to identify Hani al-Shoukri

The claim seems pure nonsense to me.

Do the claimed points make any sense? Especially the "creating these sorts of bloody mishaps" statement should be traceable, if 'currents within the Saudi security apparatus' have ever created these.

[Edited to add]

This Italian article mentions an article by Al-Shoukri in the newspaper Asharq al Awsat:

Il dottor Hani al Shoukri, oppositore in esilio della dittatura saudita, arriva ad ipotizzare l’uso di gas velenosi da parte dei sauditi. In un’intervista al giornale al Sharq al Awsat ha dichiarato “che c’e’ una forte evidenza che indica l ‘uso intenzionale di gas velenoso da parte delle forze saudite durante i rituali annuali del Hajj nella Mecca.


Dr. Hani al Shoukry, exiled opponent of the Saudi dictatorship, assumes the use of poison gas by the Saudis. In an interview with the newspaper al Sharq al Awsat he said "that there is strong evidence for the intentional use of poisonous gas by the Saudi forces during the annual ritual of the Hajj in Mecca".

I was unable to find the article or any mention of Al Shoukri in The English version of Asharq al Awsat

  • 3
    That makes no sense. Saudi Arabia would have no reason to do that, and if it came out it would be a disaster for them. In addition, they probably make a ridiculous amount of money from the Hajj. Oct 7, 2015 at 7:50
  • Can you show how this is notable, please?
    – Sklivvz
    Oct 7, 2015 at 8:24
  • 1
    @Sklivvz My English fails me here. This meta answer says about 'notable': We don't expect the sources to be scientifically valid, but to demonstrate either a lot of people have heard of the claim, or that some notable person(s) make it. I cannot see how many times it is shared on FB, and how does a Google search with 5400 results show that 'a lot of people have heard the claim' or not? Which leaves whether Hani-al-Shoukri is a notable person (a circular definition BTW), and I could not verify that yet. Let me search further.
    – user22865
    Oct 7, 2015 at 9:07
  • A facebook public status can be shared, that should contain view counts and also give use a more precise idea of what is claimed exactly. "There is strong evidence that" is a much better claim, because we can see the evidence. It would be even better if we could see what evidence is claim to exist. "Saudi Arabia used poisonous gas" is very hard, next to impossible to disprove; "There is strong evidence that Saudi Arabia used poisonous gas" is disprovable, but opinion based; "The evidence that S.A. used gas is XXX" is easy to prove or refute.
    – Sklivvz
    Oct 7, 2015 at 10:10
  • @PointlessSpike - it's not at all implausible that specific persons in specific government structure did something that was to their personal benefit but to detriment of the whole country.
    – user5341
    Oct 12, 2015 at 16:53


You must log in to answer this question.