Tuesday 11 May 2021
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Israel religious festival crush kills 45

Eyewitness accounts from the night before are helping to piece together the frenzy that ensued at the holy site of Mount Meron in Israel

Jewish worshipers lingered at the holy site of Mount Meron in Israel on Friday trying to understand how the disaster unfolded. The scene of the disaster is a stadium-style seating area used by Orthodox worshipers to light bonfires.

The ramp leading down to the steps remains rather slippery following reports of water being sprayed at fleeing worshipers.

A middle railing stretching down the ramp was left completely bent following the stampede.

Eyewitness accounts from the night before are helping to piece together the frenzy that ensued. 

“The passageway [where people were walking] was flowing fine, but suddenly everything stopped. Everyone was crammed on top of each other and no one understood why. I raised my head and saw policemen blocking the passageway. We shouted ‘people are dying in there,'” a festival-goer named Zohar told Channel 12 news of Israel.

“People lost the color in their faces,” Zohar said. “Then, bodies began falling at my feet. I tried to call for help, and slowly rescue forces arrived. There were some people who [rescuers] did not even try to revive. People were lying on my feet, shouting ‘Help me.'”

Another eyewitness named Tami was also critical of the police response.

I was standing on the rooftop there. They were spraying water because it was very hot, then they started slipping over, ten people slipping, then another ten, and another ten. I am still shocked and traumatised by it. I can’t believe what I saw. They tried to move, to run away. They tried to get some space to breathe, but the police wouldn’t let them,” Tami told Kan News of Israel.

“I know the police were doing their job, and didn’t realize what was happening behind them, but in the end, the result was unbelievable.”

Publishing partner: Uprising

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