Israel halts wedding hall rescue efforts

Rescue workers have stopped searching for survivors of a wedding hall collapse in Jerusalem, saying all guests and employees have been accounted for.

Major General Gabi Ofir says the risk of continuing the searches in the unstable ruins of the three-storey building is too great.

About 600 guests attended the wedding on Thursday evening at the Versailes banquet hall. Police say about 50 employees attended to them.

Police have made eight arrests after 25 people were killed and 300 injured when the building collapsed.

The hall's four owners, along with two contractors, an engineer and a builder responsible for the construction are being held.

Newlyweds Assi and Keren Sror were dancing on tables with their 600 guests when the top floor of the banqueting hall caved in.

The couple, their families and friends plunged down three storeys as ceiling after ceiling buckled. Mr Sror was treated for minor injuries and released. Doctors say Mrs Sror may need surgery after suffering hip and chest injuries.

Sara Pinhas said dancers had just lifted the groom's father on a chair - a traditional part of the Jewish wedding celebration - when suddenly he fell "and then we felt the whole building collapse, everything fell down".

Police say the building collapsed due to structural failure. Several supporting columns in the halls had recently been removed to enlarge the reception area and the floor tiles had recently been replaced.

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