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Teen swept away by Galilee flash flood found dead

Body of Omri Abu-janb found south of Jatt, near where he went missing after falling off an ATV during torrent; 15-year-old is second fatality of record-setting storm

Rescue teams search for Omri Abu Ganab, 14, carried away by a flood near the northern Druze villages of Yarka, December 26, 2019. (Meir Vaknin/Flash90)
Rescue teams search for Omri Abu Ganab, 14, carried away by a flood near the northern Druze villages of Yarka, December 26, 2019. (Meir Vaknin/Flash90)

The body of a teenage boy who went missing after being swept away by raging floodwaters was found Friday morning, after a day of intensive searches.

Omri Abu-janb, 15, is the second confirmed fatality as a large storm system has dumped record amounts of rain in northern Israel, transforming docile streams into angry rivers and wreaking havoc across the Galilee.

Abu-janb was found by rescuers south of the town of Jatt, near where he went missing a day earlier.

Rescue officials said the teen was found not breathing and with no pulse. He was found after an all-night search. Some media reports listed his age as 14 or 16.

Omri Abu-janb. (courtesy)

Abu-janb went missing after being swept away by a flash flood that poured through the Ein Yifam riverbed between Yarka and Jatt, as he and a relative rode an all-terrain vehicle through the area early Thursday afternoon.

The other rider was rescued and the lost boy’s ATV was recovered, overturned, from the water.

“I know he went out with a relative,” his father told Channel 12 news Thursday. “If I had known that he was going to ride on the ATV I would have never let him out. We’re broken, we don’t have any strength left. I don’t understand how this happened to us. I’m hoping for the best, that they’ll find him.”

Also Thursday, Majd Qassem Su’ad, 27, was killed when he swept away by floodwaters near his home in the village of Wadi Salameh.

Some areas of the north saw over 100 millimeters of water dumped on Thursday, the heaviest downpour in decades, according to Hebrew media reports.

More rain is expected over the weekend as the system spreads to central and southern Israel as well, leading to fears of flash floods in the Judean Desert near the Dead Sea.

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