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Bin Laden Company Banned From Work In Mecca After Crane Disaster

Workers stand next to a collapsed crane that was blamed for 107 deaths at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy Muslim city of Mecca last week.

After last week's crane collapse that killed at least 107 people at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the main developer in the city, the Saudi Binladin Group, is barred from any future projects, according to a statement from Saudi Arabia's Royal Court.

King Salman ordered compensation for the crash's victims and referred the case to prosecutors to complete an investigation. The company can't be awarded new contracts until that inquiry has ended, Reuters says.

A statement from the court, relayed by the state news agency SPA, said that the crane "was in a wrong position."

From Cairo, NPR's Leila Fadel reports for our Newscast desk:

"The statement came after an investigation into the devastating accident at the Grand Mosque in Mecca last week. The investigation found no criminal activity and attributed the crash to heavy winds that blew the crane down and on top of religious pilgrims below.

"The city of Mecca is home to the Kaaba, which Muslims consider the house of God, and Muslims were converging on the city before the start of the annual religious Hajj pilgrimage later this week when the crane collapsed during a thunderstorm.

"Now the Binladin Group's current projects are under review and its top officials are banned from traveling pending investigation. The statement also said that families of those killed in the crane collapse would receive about $266,000 in compensation. Those who were disabled will get the same and the others who were injured will get half that amount."

It's a startling turnabout for a huge construction company that has been entrusted with projects ranging from building King Abdul Aziz International Airport to extending parts of holy mosques in Mecca and Medina.

The Saudi Binladin Group has been operating in Saudi Arabia since its founding in 1931 by Mohammad bin Laden, the father of Osama bin Laden.

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