Queen Elizabeth offers condolences to victims of Israeli festival crush

queen

LONDON: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth has offered condolences to the people of Israel where 45 people were killed and several injured in a stampede at a religious festival.

The British monarch in a statement issued on social media said, “I was deeply saddened by the news of the disaster at the Lag B’Omer festival in Meron. Israel.”

“My thoughts are with all those who have been injured, and the friends and families of those who lost their lives,” she added.

At least 45 people were crushed to death and more than 100 injured at a religious bonfire festival in Israel on Friday.

The Israeli emergency service, Magen David Adom (MDA) said the crash occurred as tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews thronged to the Galilee tomb of second-century sage Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai for annual Lag B’Omer commemorations that include all-night prayer, mystical songs and dance.

The officials of the emergency service said at least 45 people were killed during the event early on Friday, adding “MDA is fighting for the lives of dozens wounded, and will not give up until the last victim is evacuated.”

 

The Mount Meron tomb is considered to be one of the holiest sites in the Jewish world and it is an annual pilgrimage site. The event was thought to be one of the largest gatherings of people in Israel since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic more than a year ago.

Private bonfires at Mount Meron were banned last year due to coronavirus restrictions, but lockdown measures were eased this year amid Israel’s rapid Covid-19 vaccination programme that has seen more than 54% of the population fully vaccinated.