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Two Teens, Including an American, Crushed at Israeli Music Festival

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Two teen-agers, including one American, were crushed to death and hundreds more were injured at a rock festival in the Negev town of Arad on Tuesday night.

One of the two was Chen Yitzhak, a 16-year-old girl from Los Angeles. The other was Eitan Peled, 17, of Beersheba.

The disaster struck as thousands of youngsters without tickets milled around the entrance to an outdoor concert area, where a popular local group was about to perform. The gates were shut, and a melee broke out.

Culture Minister Shulamit Aloni has set up an inquiry commission.

The management of the annual Arad Festival came under heavy criticism Wednesday for failing to announce its immediate closure after the incident.

Top artists, among them singers Ofra Haza and Shlomo Artzi, said they would not perform in Arad as scheduled in the wake of the riot.

Eventually, the mayor of Arad and other members of the festival management bowed to public demand and canceled the rest of the festival.

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