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Netanyahu vows to investigate burial of first victims in Israel

Israeli families began burying their loved ones after at least 45 people were crushed to death during a busy Jewish holiday overnight.

About 150 people injured when people were trapped in crowded thoroughfares at the Rag Boomer Festival near Mount Meron.

Funerals are allowed for identified victims.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised an investigation to ensure that these tragedies are not repeated.

He said this is one of the worst known peacetime disasters in the country.

One survivor, David, told Ynet News that he felt human waves had broken: “Our bodies were removed by ourselves. People thrown into the air – others were crushed to the ground.

The dead believed to be mainly men or boys from ultra-Orthodox communities, as it was clear that overcrowding occurred in one of the male areas during the incident, which was largely segregated by gender.

Some of the victims believed to be foreign nationals. El El has offered to help the families of victims living abroad, hoping to attend the funerals of their loved ones in Israel.

Sunday was declared a national day of mourning.

 

What do we know about the victims?

The bodies of those killed taken to the Greenberg Institute of Forensic Medicine in Tel Aviv, which had identified 32 bodies 24 hours before Friday night’s stop to mark on Saturday.

One of the first reported funerals was the funeral of Rabbi Elzar Goldberg, who was 30 years old.

Mourners in Jerusalem prayed, some wept, as the body covered in a white sheet moved into the back of a vehicle ahead of burial, Reuter’s news agency reports.

Two of the youngest victims were brothers Moshe Natan Englander, 14, and Yehoshua Englander, 9, from Jerusalem.

At least two of the dead are U.S citizens from New York, Congressman Mondaire Jones confirmed in a tweet.

Israeli President Reuven lit 45 candles in memory of the dead on Friday afternoon, the Jerusalem Post reported.

“It’s time to embrace their families and help them find loved ones, cry together,” she says. “It was a difficult and painful day. Tragedy is heartbreaking.

 

How did the tragedy happen?

The site includes several great meeting places with grandstands and outdoor scenarios, connected via a network of routes. Witnesses said people became obsessed around 01:00 local time (22:00 GMT on Thursday).

Witnesses said the incident began when police closed the tunnel, which said to be 3 meters (10 feet) wide. Police sources told Haaretz that some people slipped down the stairs, causing dozens of people to fall. This has not yet officially confirmed.

Israel’s National Supervisory Board, the National Audit Office, issued disaster risk warnings in 2008 and 2011.

Roads and roads are “narrow enough to accommodate hundreds of thousands of tourists” and pose a particular danger, the New York Times quoted the bureau as saying.

Reuter’s news agency quoted Israeli media as saying this year’s difference was that the fire zone divided into covid-19 precautions that could create unexpected bottlenecks for pedestrian traffic.

Thousands of police closed the event after the crackdown and helped evacuate those present.

How did the police react in this case?

The Justice Department says investigators will investigate any police misconduct.

Netanyahu promised a “serious” investigation “to ensure that these disasters do not happen again.”

Regional police Chief Simon Ravi told reporters on the ground that he had assumed “all responsibility, good and evil” and was “ready for every inspection.”

He later told AFP that his officers had done their best on a “tragic night.” Other police officers told local media that people had slipped on the sidewalk and that the crush was “out of control.”

A police source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Haaretz that the incident was inevitable and that police were not to blame.

US President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Netanyahu to offer his condolences. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his thoughts were with “the Israeli people and those who have lost loved ones in this tragedy” and German Chancellor Angela and offered her “heartfelt sympathies”.

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