At least 44 killed in stampede at Israel religious event

At least 44 people have been killed in a stampede at a religious festival in the north-east of Israel, BBC reports. 

The national emergency service Magen David Adom (MDA) said dozens more had been wounded at the Lag B'Omer festival, at the foot of Mount Meron.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described it as a "heavy disaster" and said he was praying for the casualties.

Tens of thousands reportedly attended, making it the largest event in Israel since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Dozens of ambulances attended the scene and emergency services laid out bodies under foil covers on the ground. Police asked everyone at the site to evacuate.

Emergency officials said 38 people were in critical condition at the site, with six more critically injured but evacuated and scores more wounded less seriously.

Early reports suggested a structure at the site collapsed, but MDA officials later said it was the result of a stampede. Police sources told Haaretz that it started after some attendees slipped on some steps, causing dozens more to fall.


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