At least 19 Egyptian pilgrims were killed Saturday when their bus overturned in Saudi Arabia, an Egyptian official said.

Twenty-five Egyptians were injured in the accident that took place on a highway linking the two Saudi holy cities of Medina and Mecca, Assistant Foreign Minister Hesham al-Naqeeb said, according to Egypt's state-run newspaper al-Ahram.

The pilgrims were on their way to Medina, about 400 kilometres from Mecca, according to Nawaf al-Mohammadi, chief of Medina's traffic department.

Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, draws millions of Muslims annually to perform pilgrimage and visit holy sites there.

Earlier Saturday, the spokesman for the Saudi Red Crescent in Medina, Khaled al-Sahli, said the crash left 19 dead and 22 injured.

The accident probably occurred when the driver lost control of the vehicle after falling asleep, al-Mohammadi told Saudi online newspaper Sabq.

In September, 769 Muslim pilgrims died in a stampede during a Hajj pilgrimage ritual near Mecca, according to Saudi official figures.

However, a dpa tally indicated that more than 1,800 pilgrims died in the September 24 incident, making the 2015 Hajj tragedy the worst on record.

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