Palestinian children killed in bus crash
Thursday 16 February 2012
Seven children and a teacher have been killed when a truck lost control in rainy weather and crashed into a Palestinian school bus.
Hundreds of people gathered at a West Bank hospital in an outpouring of grief, Palestinian police said.
The bus left the city of Ramallah on a school excursion but returned due to heavy rains and stormy weather.
On the way back, a truck veered into the bus, causing it to flip and catch fire. The children killed were aged four to six.
The accident was in the central West Bank, in an area Palestinians claim as their future state but where Israel has full control.
Both Israeli and Palestinian rescuers arrived at the scene, and evacuated at least 30 injured passengers to hospitals in Ramallah and Jerusalem, according to Israeli police.
The truck driver was an Arab Israeli and all eight victims were Palestinian.
Israeli and Palestinian police are investigating the accident. But an Israeli spokesman said there is no suspicion of foul play and it is likely that the wintry weather and slick roads caused the collision.
After the accident, Palestinians rushed to the Ramallah Medical Compound hospital to check on their children and donate blood.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of mourning and ordered flags flown at half-staff.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his condolences and pledged to give any aid necessary to the Palestinian Authority.
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