TEL AVIV— At least two people were killed and about 167 others injured following the collapse of a seating area during services Sunday at a synagogue in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.
A large stand inside the synagogue fell in an apparent accident while hundreds were praying in Givat Zeev, according to Israel’s emergency services. At least 5 people were in serious condition following 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 site of the collapse as a “temporary synagogue” and added that police forces helped to evacuate and rescue worshippers who were inside.
The mayor of Givat Zeev said the building was unfinished and dangerous, and that the police had ignored previous calls to take 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 beginning of Shavuot, a Jewish festival that occurs seven weeks following Passover to commemorate the giving of the Torah.
Givat Zeev is a settlement founded in 1977 and located about 10 miles north of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank.
This story is developing, please check back for updates.
Paul Goldman reported from Tel Aviv, Israel. Doha Madani reported from New York City.