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Israel News

‘Identifying bodies from Meron Lag Ba’omer disaster could take hours’

CM 30/04/2021

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Identifying the 45 people who were killed during the Meron stampede could take hours, experts from the Institute of Forensic Medicine have said.To date, 32 victims of the disaster have been identified, the institute said at around 7:15 p.m. on Friday. Of them, 22 were released for burial. By order of the Chief Rabbi of Israel, no more bodies would be released until after Shabbat.“The staff is working with dedication and sensitivity to complete the identification process,” said Dr. Chen Kugel, the institute’s head, earlier in the day. “We are working hard, but it must be understood that this is a complex and sensitive process and we must act responsibly so as to, God forbid, avoid fateful mistakes.The identification process is carried out in several stages. Details are collected from family members and fingerprints, dental tests, CT scans and even DNA tests are sometimes needed.The institute said that they have increased staffing to manage the process and that their own expert teams are being reinforced by social workers who can accompany each family through the sensitive and tragic process.Moreover, the institute has rabbis who can meet with the bereaved.

“At the end of Shabbat we will continue to be updated,” the institute said in a statement. “We share the grief of the families.”

In addition to the dead, more than 150 people were injured on Thursday night at Meron Cave in the North as tens of thousands of Israelis gathered to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Lag Baomer.

“This is the time to hug the families and to help them find their loved ones,” said President Reuven Rivlin on Friday.
Source: Jerusalem Post

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