Authorities said dozens were killed and many more injured. PIC; BBC

At least 44 people have been killed in a stampede at a religious festival in the north-east of Israel.

The national emergency service, Magen David Adom (MDA) said dozens more had been wounded at the Lag B’Omer festival, at the foot of Mount Meron.

Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu described it as a “heavy disaster” and said he was praying for the casualties.

Tens of thousands reportedly attended, making it the largest event in Israel since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Dozens of ambulances attended the scene and emergency services laid out bodies under foil covers on the ground. Police asked everyone at the site to evacuate.

Emergency officials said 38 people were in critical condition at the site, with six more critically injured but evacuated and scores more wounded less seriously.

“MDA is fighting for the lives of dozens wounded, and will not give up until the last victim is evacuated,” a tweet read.

Lag B’Omer Festival is an event where Tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews make a pilgrimage to Meron each year, an annual religious holiday marked with all-night bonfires, prayer and dancing.

BBC