CAIRO, AUG. 7 -- Several Egyptian pilgrims, returning from the hajj, or holy pilgrimage to Mecca, said Saudi police fired weapons and used electric rods to combat thousands of Iranian demonstrators in clashes last Friday that resulted in more than 400 deaths.

But in almost the same breath, they condemned the Iranian demonstrators for aggressive behavior, turning a religious event into a political one and beating other pilgrims.

Iran says Saudi police fired into the vast crowd of Iranian demonstrators and that 600 Iranians were dead or missing as a result of the violence in Mecca. Saudi Arabia said it did not fire a shot. The Saudis said 402 people, including 275 Iranians, died in a human stampede.

The Egyptian pilgrims are Sunnis, as are most Saudis, and could have been expected to support the Saudi account. In fact, some of them did so in interviews as one of the first planeloads from Mecca landed at Cairo International Airport. These pilgrims said they did not hear gunshots and that the Saudis used only water cannon and tear gas to try to disperse the crowd. Some returning Lebanese Shiite pilgrims, whose sect forms the majority in Iran, have said they heard shots during the rioting.

Other returning Egyptian pilgrims said they heard gunfire. Most said they did not see Saudi police firing their weapons because, in the chaos, they were running for cover.

"After the Friday afternoon prayers, everyone went to return to their hotels," said Maher Mahmoud, 37, from Cairo. "The Iranians started yelling some words about {Ayatollah Ruhollah} Khomeini and {President} Reagan. After one hour, there were 10,000 of them. The Saudis used tear gas and fired."

"I heard gunshots for five minutes," said Suleiman Abdel Nabi Nashi, 69, from the Nile Delta. He said handguns were used.

Mohammed Khalil Al Mehashin, 45, from Damietta, said the gunfire lasted for 10 minutes.

Ahmad Salem Rahuma, another returning pilgrim, said the Saudis used rods that delivered electric shocks and knocked people back several yards.

The Saudis released a videotape of the demonstration in Mecca, but the tape only showed the first part of the confrontation when the Iranian pilgrims were fighting with sticks and throwing stones and the police were retreating. The tape did not show latter parts of of the clash.