An Israeli government oversight body will investigate a stampede during a religious festival that killed 45 people last month and injured more than 140 others. On Monday, State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman announced the probe into the incident which happened Friday at Mount Meron in the Galilee region. “I wish to announce today that I intend to open a special audit that will investigate the circumstances that led to this tragedy,” he told reporters. Israeli security officials and rescuers stand around the bodies of victims who died during Lag BaOmer celebrations at Mt. Meron in northern Israel, Apr. 30, 2021.The comptroller can investigate and publish findings, but cannot bring criminal charges, leading some to call for a higher authority to look into the incident.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also promised an investigation but did not provide any specifics. During a memorial session in parliament, Netanyahu said, “We will examine in an orderly, deep and responsible manner all of the issues related to assemblies on the mountain, in the present and the past.” The comptroller’s office had called the Mount Meron complex dangerous several years ago in reports from 2008 and 2011. The complex, the site of the tomb of 2nd-century Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, attracted tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews for the annual Lag B’Omer celebration.  During the celebration, a large crowd entered a narrow tunnel, leading to the stampede. The stampede was one of the worst civilian disasters in Israel’s history, and on Sunday, the country marked a day of mourning. Six Americans were among those killed.  
 

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