45 killed in stampede at Israel competition

Jerusalem, April 30

At least 45 people were killed and over 150 others injured after a stampede broke out at a religious festival attended by tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel, medical officials said on Friday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a “terrible disaster”.

The mass gathering was organised to celebrate the Lag B’Omer, an annual religious holiday marked with all-night bonfires, prayer and dancing, at Mount Meron.

Tens of thousands of ultra-orthodox Jews participated in the tragic event.

A preliminary police investigation revealed that some of the attendees slipped on the stairs, creating a “human avalanche” that crushed members of the crowd.

Prime Minister Netanyahu called the incident “a terrible disaster,” promised a thorough investigation, and said that Sunday would be declared a day of national mourning.

“We will carry out a thorough, serious and in-depth investigation in order to ensure that such a disaster does not recur,” he tweeted.

President of Israel Reuven Rivlin lit 45 memorial candles at the President’s Residence in memory of the victims. — PTI

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