Health officials in Israel have confirmed the death of not less than 44 people in a stampede at an Israeli religious event.
According to a statement released by the Health Ministry on Friday, April 30, 150 more people were taken to six separate hospitals.
The stampede happened at Mount Meron, where a large crowd gathered to commemorate the Lag B’Omer, an annual religious festival characterized by all-night bonfires, prayer, and dancing.
The town was said to contain the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a second-century sage, which is regarded as one of the holiest sites in the Jewish world.
Authorities set a limit of 10,000 applicants, but media sources suggested that there may have been up to ten times that amount.
According to reports, the stampede began as people started to slip down a sloping ramp with a metal floor and corrugated metal partitions on all sides, allowing the heavily packed revellers to collide.
Witnesses, on the other hand, accused the police of allowing crowds into a cordoned-off area that was still overcrowded and of failing to open the exits on either side fast enough after panic broke out.