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Israel: 40 killed, over 100 injured in stampede during the religious bonfire festival

Jerusalem: Nearly 40 were killed while more than 100 injured in a stampede that occurred at a religious bonfire festival in Israel on Friday, medics said, in what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described as a “heavy disaster”.

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As many as tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews thronged to the Galilee tomb of 2    nd century sage Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai for annual Lag B’Omer commemorations that include all-night prayer, mystical songs and dance.

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As per witness reports, people were asphyxiated or trampled in a tightly packed passageway, some going unnoticed until the PA system sounded an appeal to disperse, as crowds packed the Mount Mron slope in defiance of Covid-19 warnings.

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Injured were ferried to hospitals via helicopters. The Israeli military said search and rescue troops and medical teams were scrambled.

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