At least two people have died and more than 150 have been injured after seats collapsed at a packed synagogue in the West Bank.
Hundreds of worshippers gathered in the settlement of Givat Zeev for prayers on Sunday evening to mark the start of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.
The event ended in disaster when a tiered seating structure fell down, sparking a huge rescue operation.
A 12-year-old boy and a man in his 50s were killed.
The collapse is the second civilian tragedy to rock the Jewish community in Israel in weeks after a stampede at Lag B’Omer, a religious festival in Mount Meron, led to the deaths of 45 people.
Protests have been taking place in the occupied West Bank after six days of brutal conflict between Israel and Palestine.
At least 157 people were treated for injuries in Sunday’s synagogue incident, a spokesperson for Magen David Adom, Israel’s national ambulance service, said.
Many were taken to hospital with paramedics and rescue workers remaining at the scene into the evening.
Search and rescue troops were sent to the scene by the Israeli military and army air ambulance helicopters were used to airlift the casualties.
Israeli authorities pointed fingers at one another at the scene of the disaster.
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 arrests were likely.
The head of the Israel fire and rescue service, Deddi Simhi, added that ‘this building is not finished’.
‘It doesn’t even have a permit for occupancy, let alone [for] holding events in it,’ he said.
Television footage from the scene showed the building was incomplete, with exposed concrete and boards visible.
The fatal stampede at Mount Meron on April 29 triggered renewed criticism over the broad autonomy granted to the country’s politically powerful ultra-Orthodox minority.
Last year, many ultra-Orthodox communities flouted coronavirus safety restrictions, contributing to high outbreak rates in their communities and angering the broader secular public.
At least 181 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza in the past week with Israeli air strikes killing 26 people on Sunday morning in the deadliest day of the conflict so far. Israel has reported 10 dead, including two children, one of whom was five years old.
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