US President Biden speaks to Israel’s PM after deadly stampede

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US President Joe Biden said he called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday to offer condolences after nearly 50 people died in a stampede at a religious ceremony earlier in the day.

A stampede at Mount Meron during an overnight celebration of Lag B’Omer led to hundreds of injuries and at least 45 deaths.

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“The United States stands with the people of Israel, and with Jewish communities the world over, in mourning the terrible tragedy at Mount Meron,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House.

Biden said he had ordered US officials to offer assistance to the government and people of Israel, while also look to confirm reports of American citizens being killed or injured in the stampede.

“The people of the United States and Israel are bound together by our families, our faiths, and our histories, and we will stand with our friends,” Biden said.

Videos shared on social media showed thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews jumping, singing and dancing near the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

Jews consider the tomb one of the holiest religious sites in the world.

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