Israeli watchdog to investigate deadly festival stampede

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s government watchdog agency says it will launch an investigation into the deadly stampede at a religious festival over the weekend that left 45 ultra-Orthodox Jews dead. The state comptroller announced the investigation at a press conference Monday, saying “this is an event that could have been prevented.” Some 100,000 people, mostly ultra-Orthodox Jews, had gathered for a Lag BaOmer festival at Mount Meron in northern Israel despite coronavirus restrictions limiting outdoor assemblies to 500 people and longstanding warnings about the safety of such gatherings. The government has come under fire for allowing the mass gathering.