Queen ‘deeply saddened’ by Israel tragedy after at least 45 killed in festival stampede

Queen Elizabeth II is 'in favour' of commoners says expert

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At least 45 people including children were crushed to death in a horrifying stampede, during religious celebrations in Meron in northern Israel. Tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews had gathered to celebrate the annual Lag B’Omer commemorations. In a letter to the country’s president, Reuven Rivlin, the Queen wrote: “I was deeply saddened by news of the disaster at the Lag B’Omer festival in Meron, Israel.

“My thoughts are with all those who have been injured, and the friends and families of those who lost their lives.

“They have my deepest sympathies.”

An estimated 100,000 worshippers thronged to the Galilee tomb of 2nd-century sage Rabbi Shim Bar Yochai on Thursday night.

Police sources told Haaretz newspaper a stampede was triggered after some attendees slipped on steps, which caused dozens more to fall.

Shocking images show worshippers crammed together through a narrow passageway.

A video from the chaotic scene shows groups of men trying to escape through gaps torn from corrugated iron sheets.

Bodies also lay on stretchers in a corridor and were covered in foil blankets.

The Israel Defence forces sent soldiers from the rescue brigade and Israel Air Force helicopters to help at the scene.

Magen David Adom rescue service spokesman Zaki Heller told the Maariv newspaper: “Difficult sights, people crushed without being able to escape.

“Some of the wounded are still being treated at the scene.”

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Another eyewitness described the horror of seeing people die next to them.

They told Maariv: “We were at the entrance, we decided we wanted to get out and then the police blocked the gate, so whoever wanted to get out could not get out.

“In that hurry we fell on each other, I thought I was going to die. I saw people dead next to me.”

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