TEL AVIV – At least two people have been killed and around 167 others injured after a seating area collapsed during Sunday services at a synagogue in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.
A large booth inside the synagogue fell into an apparent accident as hundreds of people prayed 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 had helped evacuate and rescue worshipers inside.
The mayor of Givat Zeev said the building was unfinished and unsafe, and police ignored previous calls for action. Jerusalem Police Chief Doron Turgeman said the disaster was a case of “negligence” and that there would likely be arrests.
Sunday evening marked the start of Shavuot, a Jewish holiday that takes place seven weeks after Passover to commemorate the gift of Torah.
Givat Zeev is a settlement founded in 1977 and located approximately 16 km north of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank.
This story is under development, please check for updates.
Paul Goldman reported from Tel Aviv, Israel. Doha Madani reported from New York.