May 3 (UPI) — Israeli officials said Monday they will open a special investigation into a deadly stampede last week during a religious event on Mount Meron that killed 45 people, including a 19-year-old American man.
Israeli state comptroller Matanyahu Englman said the stampede at the Lag B’Omer Jewish Festival “could have been prevented” and said part of the review will be aimed at preventing a similar disaster in the future.
Justice minister Benny Gantz and multiple nonprofits have called for a state commission of inquiry to be appointed by the Supreme Court. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not yet said whether he will call for such a commission.
More than 140 people were injured in Friday’s stampede.
Among the dead were six U.S. citizens and two legal residents. U.S. Charge d’Affaires in Israel Jonathan Shrier confirmed the total in a tweet Sunday.
“We continue to work with local authorities to provide all possible support to grieving families,” he wrote.
Five of the six Americans were identified as New Jersey resident Donny Morris, 19, New Yorker residents Eliezer Zvi Yuzef, 26, and Menachem Knoblowitz, 22; Yousef Amran Tauber and Yousef Kahn.