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Two dead, more than 100 hurt in bleachers' collapse at Israeli synagogue

At least two people were killed and 167 were injured after bleachers collapsed at a crowded synagogue in the town of Givat Ze'ev on Sunday. Photo by Atef Safadi/EPA-EFE
At least two people were killed and 167 were injured after bleachers collapsed at a crowded synagogue in the town of Givat Ze'ev on Sunday. Photo by Atef Safadi/EPA-EFE

May 16 (UPI) -- At least two people were killed and 167 were injured after bleachers collapsed at a Hasidic synagogue in Israel on Sunday.

Emergency medical teams said a 12-year-old boy and a 40-year-old man died, while 152 people were lightly injured, 10 were in moderate condition and five in serious condition after the incident at the crowded synagogue in the town of Givat Ze'ev north of Jerusalem.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that he was praying for those injured in the incident.

People had gathered at the synagogue for an event celebrating the Jewish festival of Shavuot.

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Fire and Rescue services sent an email to the Givat Ze'ev local council on Sunday morning clarifying that the event had not received approval due to ongoing construction at the site, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Jerusalem district police commissioner Doron Turjeman said the head of the council was informed that the structure was forbidden from holding prayers and large gatherings.

"This is a synagogue -- a local authority has all the powers required within the law to deal with it. There is a local authority's responsibility here in all aspects of authority," said Turjeman.

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Police also released a document that was sent to the council stating the event was not approved "according to safety regulations" and that the local authority was required to send inspectors to ensure it did not take place.

GivatZe'ev local council head Yossi Avrahami said he had "instructed my people not to approve this incident at any stage."

"We put up roadblocks with signs that say the site here is dangerous," he added. "The police told us they were removing responsibility for the incident."

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