Two dead as synagogue stands collapse near Jerusalem

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Two people were killed and dozens injured Sunday when grandstand seating collapsed at a synagogue in the Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev in the occupied West Bank, Israeli authorities said.

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The incident occurred outside Jerusalem “as hundreds were congregated” for the Jewish Shavuot feast, a Magen David Adom emergency services spokesman told Israeli channel Kan.

The structure was “under construction”, he said.

Magen David Adom in a statement reported the “deaths of two injured, including a 40-year-old man and a 12-year-old boy”.

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It said “167 people were evacuated to hospitals, including five seriously injured”.

Images circulating on social media showed the stands collapsing as dozens of men prayed.

“Praying in this building was forbidden,” Jerusalem police commander Doron Tourgeman said at the site.

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“My heart goes out to the victims of the Givat Zeev catastrophe,” Defence Minister Benny Gantz wrote on Twitter, adding that army forces were seeking to assist with the evacuation.

The incident comes just weeks after a stampede that killed 45 people at a Jewish pilgrimage site.

The deadly crush in late April at Mount Meron in northern Israel has been described as one of the worst peacetime disasters since the nation’s founding in 1948.

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At least 16 children and teens figured among those killed.

Israel’s state comptroller earlier this month announced the launch of an investigation into the stampede.

(AFP)

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