Dozens of people were killed and more than a hundred injured in a stampede at a religious festival in northeastern Israel. News agencies and local media report this.
The tragedy occurred during the celebrations on the occasion of the holiday of Lag B’Omer on Mount Meron in Galilee, where tens of thousands of people arrived. The Times of Israel newspaper reports with reference to the organizers that on Thursday evening, about 100 thousand people were present at the place of the holiday, despite the limit of 10 thousand participants imposed by the authorities due to the pandemic.
Initially, it was reported that people died from the collapse of one of the stands during the holiday. However, the authorities then indicated that the cause of the incident was a stampede. According to the police, dozens of participants of the holiday slipped on the steps and fell on the people under them.
According to various sources, the victims of the tragedy were from 38 to 44 people. Emergency Medical Service Magen David Adom notes on Twitter that six victims are in critical condition, an 18-in serious condition. Israeli army soldiers are taking part in the evacuation of the wounded and the bodies of the dead.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the incident a “grave disaster.” The tragedy was one of the largest in peacetime in modern Israel. In 2010, 44 people were also killed in wildfires in Israel. The holiday of Lag B’Omer is held annually at the burial place of Rabbi Shimon bar Yokhai, who lived in the II century AD. According to tradition, he is considered the founder of Kabbalistic teaching. Bonfires, chants, and dances accompany the festival, celebrated on the day of his death. Last year, due to coronavirus restrictions, it was canceled.