Ten people were killed and at least 40 injured Thursday morning when a bus full of schoolchildren was hit by a truck at the Adam junction north of Jerusalem, near the Hizmeh checkpoint.
The truck driver, an Israeli Arab, is believed to have lost control of his vehicle and veered into the path of the bus due to slick road conditions caused by heavy rains in the Jerusalem area. The bus flipped over and caught fire after the collision. According to JTA, the adult killed was a teacher.
Two overcrowded buses were carrying the children, mostly residents of the Shuafat refugee camp, to an outing in a Ramallah area park.
Following the accident, Palestinian health minister Fathi Abu Mughli accused Israeli rescue services of failing to provide timely assistance, resulting in more casualties. Ma’ariv reported that eyewitness report contradict Abu Mughli’s claim.
Channel 10’s news website reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his condolences, and extended an offer of assistance to the Palestinian Authority. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of national mourning following the accident, calling it “a national catastrophe.”
Israeli and Palestinian rescue teams transferred at least 30 casualties to hospitals in Ramallah, Petah Tikva and Jerusalem, Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Israel Radio reported that it took rescue forces seven minutes to reach the scene of the accident. Police said there was no suspicion of foul play.
Israeli and Palestinian police are collaborating on the investigation.