| 18 April 2024, Thursday |

Dozens injured in bleacher collapse at Israeli synagogue

A bleacher crowded with worshippers fall down in a West Bank synagogue on Sunday on the eve of a major Jewish holiday, injuring dozens of people, medics said.

Amateur footage showed the stands collapsing during prayers at the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. The synagogue in Givat Zeev, just north of Jerusalem, was packed with hundreds of ultra-Orthodox worshippers.

Israeli TV stations showed rows of rescue vehicles lined up in the town as medics evacuated the wounded on stretchers.

The Magen David Adom rescue service said some 60 people were injured, including 10 in serious or critical condition.

The accident came weeks after a stampede at a religious festival in northern Israel killed 45 ultra-Orthodox Jews.

The stampede triggered renewed criticism over the broad autonomy granted to the country’s politically powerful ultra-Orthodox minority.

Last year, many ultra-Orthodox communities flouted coronavirus safety restrictions, contributing to high outbreak rates in their communities and angering the broader secular public.

A spokesman for the Magen David Adom ambulance service said at least two people were killed. Ambulances and military helicopters ferried the injured to hospitals.

Security footage broadcast on Channel 12 TV showed a crowded grandstand collapsing and worshippers falling on top of each other.

“We were called again to another event where there was negligence and a lack of responsibility. There will be arrests,” Jerusalem District police chief Doron Turgeman said from the scene, on live TV.

  • alarabiya