TEL AVIV – At least two people were killed and about 167 others injured after a seating area collapsed during Sunday service in a synagogue in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.
A large stand in the synagogue fell in an apparent accident when hundreds were praying in Givat Zeev, according to the Israeli emergency services. At least 5 people were in serious condition after the collapse.
One of the deceased was a 40-year-old man and the other a 12-year-old child, emergency services confirmed.
A police spokeswoman described the collapse site as a “temporary synagogue” and added that police helped evacuate and rescue followers inside.
The mayor of Givat Zeev said the building was unfinished and dangerous and the police had ignored previous calls to action. Jerusalem Police Chief Doron Turgeman said the disaster was a case of “negligence” and arrests would likely result.
Sunday evening marked the start of Shavuot, a Jewish festival that takes place seven weeks after Passover to commemorate the presentation of the Torah.
Givat Zeev is a settlement founded in 1977, which is located about 16 km north of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank.
This story is evolving, please check back for updates.
Paul Goldman reported from Tel Aviv, Israel. Doha Madani reported from New York City.