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Police and worshippers at the site of the stampede. Photo: Ilia Yefimovich/picture alliance via Getty

President Biden called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday to offer condolences and U.S. assistance following a deadly stampede that killed at least 45 worshippers, the White House said.

Driving the news: The stampede occurred on Thursday night as tens of thousands of mainly ultra-Orthodox Jews were participating in a celebration of the Lag B’Omer holiday at Mount Meron, a pilgrimage site in northern Israel. Several of those killed were American citizens.

  • "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. Our prayers are with those who were injured and all those who lost loved ones. May their memories be a blessing," Biden said in a statement.
  • Secretary of State Tony Blinken also spoke with his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi, who promised that Israel would help all U.S. citizens affected by the disaster.

Go deeper

Updated Apr 30, 2021 - World

At least 45 killed in stampede at large Israeli religious festival

Emergency workers gather at the scene after dozens of people were killed and others injured in a stampede in Meron, Israel.

At least 45 people have been killed and 150 hospitalized in a stampede at a large Jewish festival in northern Israel, the deadliest civilian disaster in the country's history, AP reports.

The latest: President Biden called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday to offer condolences on behalf of the United States for those killed at Lag B'Omer.

Apr 29, 2021 - World

Israel and Lebanon to resume U.S.-mediated talks on maritime border

A UN peacekeeping boat off of Naqoura. Photo: Mahmoud Zayyat/AFP via Getty

Israel and Lebanon will resume U.S.-mediated talks on their maritime borders next Tuesday after a pause of more than four month, Israeli officials tell me

Why it matters: The talks are an attempt to resolve a dispute over natural gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The revenues at stake could reach the tens of billions of dollars.

Apr 29, 2021 - World

Palestinian president Abbas postpones parliamentary elections

Studying the electoral rolls in Ramallah. Photo: Abbas Momani/AFP via Getty

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced Thursday the indefinite postponement of parliamentary elections that had been scheduled for May 22.

Driving the news: Abbas said the delay was due to the fact that Israel had not committed to allowing Palestinians in East Jerusalem to vote. Another unspoken reason is that a split in his Fatah party has opened the door for a potential Hamas victory.