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Only 32 bodies of stampede victims so far identified for religious reasons: Israeli ministry

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-05-01 07:04

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men mourn over the body of Shraga Eliyahu Gashtner who died during Lag B'Omer commemorations on Mount Meron, during his funeral in Jerusalem April 30, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

JERUSALEM - Only 32 bodies of those killed in the stampede disaster at Mount Meron in northern Israel on Thursday night have so far been identified, the Ministry of Health said Friday.

For religious reasons, the identification process was stopped on Friday afternoon and will only resume on Saturday evening.

Meanwhile, more than 2,000 Israelis donated blood on Friday, following a call from Israeli ambulance service to help hospitals treat the many wounded.

Described as Israel's worst civil disaster ever, the stampede took place during a festival celebrated on the eve of the Jewish holiday Lag BaOmer and resulted in 45 deaths and at least 150 injuries.

More than 100,000 people participated in the festival, most of them ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Following the disaster, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared the upcoming Sunday as a national day of mourning.

"Let us all unite with the grief of the families and pray for the recovery of the wounded," Netanyahu said in a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office.

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