Americans among 45 dead in Israel stampede

MARK OSBORNE, CONOR FINNEGAN and EMILY SHAPIRO
·2 min read

Multiple Americans were among those killed and injured in a stampede in Israel that's killed dozens, the State Department said Friday.

The State Department has not released the number of Americans involved, but the Consulate General of Israel in New York said four of the 45 people reported dead were American citizens.

"Our Embassy and Department of State will provide all necessary support to any U.S. citizens and their family members affected," President Joe Biden said earlier on Friday.

PHOTO: Ultra-Orthodox Jews mourn during the funeral of Moshe Ben Shalom at a cemetery in Petah Tikva, Israel, April 30, 2021. Shalom died in a stampede at a religious festival in Mt. Meron, northern Israel. (Oded Balilty/AP)
PHOTO: Ultra-Orthodox Jews mourn during the funeral of Moshe Ben Shalom at a cemetery in Petah Tikva, Israel, April 30, 2021. Shalom died in a stampede at a religious festival in Mt. Meron, northern Israel. (Oded Balilty/AP)

In addition to those killed, at least 150 others were hospitalized -- nearly two dozen in critical condition -- after the stampede around midnight Friday at Mount Meron during Lag BaOmer festivities, according to the Israeli Health Ministry.

PHOTO: Mourners carry the body of Rabbi Eliezer Goldberg, who died in the stampeded during religious celebrations at Mt. Meron in northern Israel, at his funeral in Jerusalem, April 30, 2021. (Ariel Schalit/AP)
PHOTO: Mourners carry the body of Rabbi Eliezer Goldberg, who died in the stampeded during religious celebrations at Mt. Meron in northern Israel, at his funeral in Jerusalem, April 30, 2021. (Ariel Schalit/AP)
PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Mount Meron, northern Israel, where fatalities were reported among the thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered for annual commemorations that include all-night prayer and dance, April 30, 2021. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool via Shutterstock)
PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Mount Meron, northern Israel, where fatalities were reported among the thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered for annual commemorations that include all-night prayer and dance, April 30, 2021. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool via Shutterstock)

"The Meron disaster is one of the worst disasters in the history of Israel. We mourn the dead, our hearts go out to the families of those wounded, to them we wish a full recovery," Prime Ministry Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement Friday.

"We have seen here heart-breaking sights, people who were crushed to death, including children," he said. "A large number of the fatalities have not yet been identified."

PHOTO: Security officials and rescuers gather near the bodies of victims who died in a stampede overnight during a religious gatheringin northern Israel, during a religious gathering. (Behadrei Haredim/United Hatzalah via AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Security officials and rescuers gather near the bodies of victims who died in a stampede overnight during a religious gatheringin northern Israel, during a religious gathering. (Behadrei Haredim/United Hatzalah via AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: People gather at the site where a stampede killed scores as thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered an annual commemoration that includes all-night prayer and dance, in Mount Meron, Israel, April 30, 2021. (Abir Sultan/EPA via Shutterstock)
PHOTO: People gather at the site where a stampede killed scores as thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered an annual commemoration that includes all-night prayer and dance, in Mount Meron, Israel, April 30, 2021. (Abir Sultan/EPA via Shutterstock)

"I have to point out here the speedy rescue effort of the police and the other security and rescue organizations, we are grateful to them. Their work prevented an even larger disaster," he continued. "We will conduct a thorough investigation so such a disaster will not happen again."

PHOTO: Ultra Orthodox Jews look at stairs littered with refuse in Mount Meron, northern Israel, where a stampede killed scores during an annual religious commemoration that include all-night prayer and dance, April 30, 2021. (Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)
PHOTO: Ultra Orthodox Jews look at stairs littered with refuse in Mount Meron, northern Israel, where a stampede killed scores during an annual religious commemoration that include all-night prayer and dance, April 30, 2021. (Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)
PHOTO: Israeli security officials and rescuers carry a body of a victim who died during a Lag Ba'Omer celebrations at Mt. Meron in northern Israel, Friday, April 30, 2021. (AP)
PHOTO: Israeli security officials and rescuers carry a body of a victim who died during a Lag Ba'Omer celebrations at Mt. Meron in northern Israel, Friday, April 30, 2021. (AP)

The MDA said helicopters were sent to work with ambulances to bring victims to Ziv Hospital in Safed and Galil Medical Center in Nahariya.

Lag BaOmer is an annual celebration on the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who was buried in a tomb at Mount Meron in northern Israel. The festivities include pilgrimages to bar Yochai's tomb and lighting bonfires and celebrating throughout the night.

PHOTO: Medics and rescue workers attend to the Lag B'Omer event in Mount Meron, northern Israel, where fatalities were reported among thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered at the tomb of a 2nd-century sage for annual commemorations, April 30, 2021. (Stringer/Reuters)
PHOTO: Medics and rescue workers attend to the Lag B'Omer event in Mount Meron, northern Israel, where fatalities were reported among thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered at the tomb of a 2nd-century sage for annual commemorations, April 30, 2021. (Stringer/Reuters)
PHOTO: Jewish worshippers sing and dance as they stand on tribunes at the Lag B'Omer event in Mount Meron, northern Israel, April 29, 2021.  (Stringer/Reuters)
PHOTO: Jewish worshippers sing and dance as they stand on tribunes at the Lag B'Omer event in Mount Meron, northern Israel, April 29, 2021. (Stringer/Reuters)

Netanyahu declared Sunday a national day of mourning.

Biden said he spoke with Netanyahu to offer his "profound condolences" and said the U.S. was offering assistance to Israel.

"Our prayers are with those who were injured and all those who lost loved ones," Biden said. "May their memories be a blessing."

ABC News' Bruno Nota, Molly Nagle, Christine Theodorou, Aaron Katersky and Rashid Haddou contributed to this report.

Americans among 45 dead in Israel stampede originally appeared on abcnews.go.com