Ultra-Orthodox Jews attend the funeral of one of the victims of the Meron tragedy at Segula cemetery in Petah Tikva, Israel, April 30, 2021.

ISRAEL – Two young Franco-Israeli brothers died in the giant stampede that killed 45 people on Friday during a Jewish pilgrimage to Mount Meron, in northern Israel, told AFP on Sunday (May 2). police and diplomatic sources in Jerusalem.

Israeli police records in Hebrew consulted by AFP show two Frenchmen who died in the tragedy, brothers Moshe and Yosef ElHadad, aged 12 and 18 respectively.

Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem said the two victims were “binational” citizens.

Hundreds of people attended the funeral of the two teenagers in Meron on Saturday evening, where the bodies were each covered with a white tallit (prayer shawl), an AFP correspondent noted.

“One of the worst catastrophes” in the history of Israel

Israel also observed this Sunday a day of national mourning in tribute to the victims of this stampede during an Orthodox Jewish pilgrimage described as “one of the worst catastrophes” in the history of Israel, declared Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The 45 victims were ultra-Orthodox Jews who were taking part in a vast pilgrimage that brought together tens of thousands of people to Mount Meron, the largest gathering held in the country since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Shortly after midnight, a compact human mass rushed towards the exit, at one point clumping together in a narrow, metallic hallway. Pilgrims then piled up on top of each other and several people were crushed to death.

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