JERUSALAND – At least four U.S. citizens were among the dead after a panic on Israel’s Meron Hill, a spokesman for the country’s foreign ministry said on Saturday as funeral arrangements began.
Lior Haiat told NBC News the ministry is helping American families trying to fly into the country.
“There were four families in the New York area that we contacted with, and the New York consulate was helping them,” Hyatt said. Them too, ”he added.
At least 45 people were killed and more than 100 were injured in the stampede around 1am local time Friday (8pm ET Thursday), which took place during the Lag BaOmer celebration in northern Mount Meron. Of Israel by the cemetery of ancient Jewish mages Rabbi Shimon Banyochai.
Each year, tens of thousands of people, mostly Orthodox Jews, gather in the area to celebrate the rabbis and the bonfire as part of the celebration. The event was the first ever legal religious gathering to be held as Israel lifted almost all restrictions related to the coronavirus outbreak.
Representative Josh Gottheimer, DN.J., tweeted on Friday that Donnie Morris, one of his constituents, had died of attention.
His uncle, Rabbi Yechiel Morris, confirmed his death to several media outlets, telling them the 19-year-old was studying in Israel.NBC News was unable to independently verify these reports and contact his family.
A spokesman for the US embassy in Israel said Saturday: “It is working with local authorities to determine if additional US citizens are affected, and is providing all possible consular support to affected US citizens and their loved ones.”
Israel’s health ministry told Reuters that 32 people were killed late on Friday, but Haiat said Jewish compliance with the Sabbath, a vacation, had paused the process until. After sunset on a Saturday evening It is also expected that many funerals will be held thereafter in accordance with religious practices.
He said the names of the Americans who died have not been confirmed. But the identification should finally be completed by Sunday.
It is not clear what caused the panic. But video footage showed people being drawn from the true thrust of the crowded crowds.Other footage of the incident showed large numbers of people, mostly men in black, spilling down the track. Walk in a narrow open space
U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday and offered U.S. assistance.
“The United States stands with the people of Israel and with the Jewish community around the world in mourning the terrible tragedy of Mount Meron,” Biden said in a statement. “The loss of life among faithful worshipers is horrifying.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that two Canadians were among the dead and said he felt. “Shock and sad” in a statement on Friday. Other global leaders, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, also expressed their condolences.
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After visiting the scene on Friday, Netanyahu said this was “One of the worst disasters to strike Israel”
“We will be conducting a thorough and in-depth investigation to ensure that the disaster does not happen again,” he said before Sunday’s national memorial day announcement.
However, the furious crowd appeared to ridicule and yell at Netanyahu during his visit in a video posted on social media, as many blamed the government and police for the disaster.
Lawahez Jabari reported from Jerusalem and Adela Suliman from London.
Reuters contributed to this report.