At least 44 Orthodox Jewish worshippers have been killed and many more critically hurt in a stampede at a Lag B’Omer festival at Mount Meron in northern Israel.
The Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s rescue service, said 103 people had been injured, including ‘dozens’ fatally. The Jerusalem Post put the number of dead at 44 in the early hours of this morning. Police shut down the site and ordered revellers to be evacuated by bus.
The MDA added that ’38 are in a critical condition and still in the field’ with ‘six critically injured evacuated’, ’18 severely’, ‘two moderately’ and ’39 lightly’, saying it would ‘fight for the lives of dozens wounded, and will not give up until the last victim is evacuated.’
Closed last year due to coronavirus restrictions, this year’s pilgrimage was the largest public gathering since the pandemic began. Rescue workers had initially said that chaos erupted when a section of stadium seating collapsed but later revised that account to say the casualties had been caused by a stampede.
Israeli media published an image of a row of bodies covered in plastic bags on the ground. Emergency services deployed six helicopters to evacuate the injured.
On Twitter, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a ‘heavy disaster’ and added: ‘We are all praying for the wellbeing of the casualties.’
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Source: Daily Mail