The Israeli prime minister is calling for a day of mourning on Sunday when he announced an investigation into the shooting that killed 44 people.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced a full investigation into the fatal crash at a Jewish religious festival in the town of Mount Meron, where he was booed by protests from relatives of the victims.
According to Israeli media, protesters threw empty bottles and shouted insults at Netanyahu, who traveled to the northern pilgrimage site, where at least 44 people were killed and another 150 injured during the celebration of Lake BaOmer. .
Netanyahu, who described it as one of the “worst” disasters in Israel’s history, announced Sunday that it would be a “national day of mourning” and expressed sympathy to the families of the victims. He also met with police and others involved in the rescue efforts.
Meanwhile, President Reuven Rivlin’s office called on those looking for people who were still missing to contact the presidential office. “We will make every effort to find them,” he said.
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein visited some of the injured Friday morning at Ziv Medical Center in northern Israel’s Safed.
Edelstein said almost all of the victims had been identified, Israeli media reported.
The incident took place when a large number of people trying to leave the site crowded a narrow tunnel-like passage, according to witnesses. People began falling on top of each other toward the end of the walkway as they slipped down metal stairs, witnesses said.
Authorities had gathered 10,000 people at the site of the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a second-century Talmudic sage, but organizers said more than 650 buses had been milked from across the country, bringing at least 30,000 pilgrims to Mount Meron.
Eli Beer, director of the Hatzalah rescue service, said he was horrified by the concentration of the event, and said the site was equipped to handle perhaps a quarter of the number there, he told the station of army radio.
About 5,000 police officers had been deployed to secure the event, the country’s largest public gathering during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ecstatic crowds congregated despite warnings from health officials to avoid presenting COVID-19 risks.