The collapse of bleachers at a synagogue in an Israeli settlement near Jerusalem on Sunday (May 16) left two people dead and many minor injuries, reminiscent of the recent Mount Meron tragedy, local authorities reported.

Hundreds of worshipers were gathered to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (Jewish Pentecost) in a synagogue in the settlement of Givat Zeev, in the occupied West Bank, when part of the bleachers gave way under their feet. 

According to a spokesman for Magen David Adom, the local equivalent of the Red Cross, around 60 people were injured, including five seriously, in the collapse of this structure "under construction".

"Forbidden to pray in this building"

According to Israeli police, two people lost their lives in the incident.

"It was forbidden to pray in this building," said Jerusalem police commander Doron Tourgeman on the spot.

The first images released by Israeli media show the back row of the synagogue, where dozens of men stood praying, breaking in seconds, knocking worshipers to the ground and creating a crowd movement.

"My heart goes out to the victims of the Givat Zeev disaster. The army forces, led by the Home Front Command and the Air Force, are working to help with the evacuation. I pray for the safety of the wounded, "tweeted Benny Gantz, Israel's Defense Minister. 

The event comes less than a month after the giant stampede that killed 45 people, including many children, during a pilgrimage involving thousands of Orthodox Jews to Mount Meron in northern Israel.

With AFP

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