At least 45 people were killed Friday morning when crowds of people celebrating the ultra-Orthodox Jewish holiday of Lag BaOmer in Israel turned into a stampede.
According to the Associated Press, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his condolences saying, "In these moments our people unite and that is what we are doing at this moment as well."
Netanyahu, who was among the many offering to donate blood, has also declared Sunday a national day of mourning.
According to the Associated Press, the mass panic-turned-stampede was caused as people began to slip on a ramp.
One of the people at the panic whose sons were trampled on by the crowd told local Israeli outlet Kan, "My son screamed, 'I'm dying.' The policeman threw up and started crying, and I understood what he was looking at, what I couldn't see. I thought this was the end." The man found out he lost his oldest son while at the hospital being treated with his younger son for wounds obtained in the panic.
Others there said police barricades prevented people from exiting properly, with one rabbi telling the Associated Press, "The officers who were there couldn't care less." He went on to state that the government was responsible for the "Jews that were killed here for no reason whatsoever."
Despite the quick response in the aftermath of the event, Israel Army Radio reported that there are still some 40 people unaccounted for. Currently, four people are in critical condition, and dozens more have been hospitalized, the Associated Press reports. Among the victims were a 9-year-old boy and a father of 11 children. Two brothers, 12 and 14, were also killed in the stampede.
Israel is launching an investigation into the conduct of the officers there to determine if there was any criminal misconduct by the officers.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Amir Levy/Stringer
John Paluska has been a contributor for Christian Headlines since 2016 and is the founder of The Washington Gazette, a news outlet he relaunched in 2019 as a response to the constant distribution of fake news.