Police say restrictions on ‘Holy Fire’ event in Jerusalem were set by safety engineer

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The Israel Police issues an English-language statement in response to accusations by the Greek Orthodox Church that police-imposed restrictions on Saturday’s planned “Holy Fire” ceremony infringe on Christians’ freedom of worship.

The church has decried the limit of 1,800 people at Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre as “heavy-handed” and “unreasonable.”

Police say the limitation isn’t their initiative and is a “necessary safety requirement” set by a safety engineer to prevent a potentially deadly stampede resembling the crush that happened several years ago during a Jewish pilgrimage event at Mount Meron, where 45 people died.

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