Dozens dead following stampede at religious festival in Israel

Dozens dead following stampede at religious festival in Israel
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More than 40 people are dead as of Friday morning following a stampede at a religious festival in Israel.

Forty-four people have died and another 150 people were hospitalized in what is one of the deadliest civilian disasters in the nation’s history, according to The Associated Press.

The incident happened at a festival where tens of thousands of people were in attendance for Lag BaOmer, a Jewish holiday, according to the AP. 


Initial reports of the stampede indicated that a grandstand collapsed, according to The New York Times. However, details appear to show that a “human avalanche” occurred after people slipped on stone steps which led into a narrow passageway with a metal-floored slope.

Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE has visited the site of the disaster and was briefed by officials, his office said on Twitter.

He declared that Sunday would be a national day of mourning.


“We will carry out a thorough, serious and in-depth investigation in order to ensure that such a disaster does not recur,” the prime minister’s office tweeted.

“I would like to declare Sunday as a day of national mourning. Let us all join in the grief of the families and pray for the wellbeing of the injured,” the office continued.

Lag BaOmer at Mount Meron celebrations are a tradition in which ultra-Orthodox Jews celebrate around the tomb of a prominent rabbi, according to the Times.

The festival was the largest in Israel since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The country has recently lifted its outdoor mask mandate and fully reopened schools amid declining cases, the Times reports.

About 56 percent of the nation’s population has been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 as of Thursday.