Israel mourns as festival crush victims identified

The bodies of 32 people killed in a stampede at a Jewish pilgrimage site have been identified in Israel.

At least 45 people died in the crush at the Lag B'Omer festival, near Mount Meron, when they became trapped in an overcrowded passageway. Some 150 people were injured.

The identification process was paused for 24 hours late on Friday to mark the Sabbath, the Jewish day of rest.

Work is expected to resume after sunset on Saturday, which ends the Sabbath.

So far, 22 bodies have been released for burial.

Those who died are believed to be predominantly men or boys from the ultra-Orthodox community as the crush at the largely gender-segregated event happened in one of the men's sections.

Some victims are believed to be foreign nationals, including several US citizens.

UK-based site Jewish News reported that a 24-year-old from Manchester in England was also among the dead.

Israel's Health Ministry said some identifications might require DNA, finger printing and dental testing.

"We are working hard, but you have to understand that this is a complex and sensitive process," said Dr Chen Kugel, director of the National Center of Forensic Medicine.

He said the work must be done "responsibly" to avoid errors.