Merkel sends 'heartfelt sympathy' to Israel for deadly stampede

AFP
AFP - [email protected] • 30 Apr, 2021 Updated Fri 30 Apr 2021 12:43 CEST
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Ultra-orthodoxe jüdische Männer trösten sich gegenseitig an der jüdisch-orthodoxen Pilgerstätte auf dem Berg Meron, wo am frühen Freitag während des jüdischen religiösen Festes Lag BaOmer im Norden Israels Dutzende von Gläubigen bei einer Massenpanik getötet wurden. (Bestmögliche Qualität) +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

German Chancellor Angela Merkel extended her "heartfelt sympathy" to Israel for the massive stampede at a densely packed Jewish pilgrimage site that killed at least 44 people on Friday, her spokesman said.

"In the name of the chancellor and the entire government, I would like express our heartfelt sympathy to the Israeli people for the catastrophe in Meron and its horrific consequences," her spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters.

He said Merkel and her government "shared the grief of the families" of the victims who "had embarked as pilgrims for this religious festival of joy".

"Our thoughts are also with the many injured in the hope that they can recover," he said.

The nighttime disaster struck as tens of thousands of pilgrims were gathered in Meron at the site of the reputed tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a second-century Talmudic sage, where mainly ultra-Orthodox Jews mark the Lag BaOmer holiday.

The gathering was expected to be a celebratory event in a nation that has largely reopened thanks to a successful vaccination effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

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AFP 2021/04/30 12:43

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