Police probe response to flash flooding in south after deaths

Security sources cited on Israeli TV slam force for not closing roads sooner, arguing siblings killed in flood did not need to die

A flooded road in the south on April 12, 2023 (Israel Police)
A flooded road in the south on April 12, 2023 (Israel Police)

Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai on Thursday ordered an investigation into the force’s response to deadly flash flooding in the south this week.

The probe will be led by police’s Southern District Commander Peretz Amar.

The police’s conduct during the floods, and their late decision to close off certain roads, has come under question following the deaths of two siblings from Tiberias after their car was carried away by a flash flood.

The two were named as Ma’ayan Assor, 24, and Sahar Assor, 17. Ma’ayan’s girlfriend, who was also with them, was located and rescued.

Channel 12 news on Thursday quoted unnamed security sources slamming police for not closing the roads sooner, arguing the Assors’ deaths could have been prevented.

The investigation follows the reopening of key roads to and from Eilat Wednesday night, with police saying conditions were safe enough to travel. Authorities warned hikers to stay away from riverbeds due to the continued risk of flash floods.

Ma’ayan Assor, 25, (left) and Sahar Assor, 17 (right) who were killed when they were swept away in floods in southern Israel on April 10, 2023 (Courtesy)

The sources who spoke to Channel 12 said the road where the deadly incident happened had been flagged in advance as dangerous, but corresponding action wasn’t taken.

In response to that report, police said officers and rescue personnel “worked around the clock” to save lives, saying over 60 people caught in floods were safely extracted.

The flash flooding came after Israel was hit by stormy weather and heavy winds, just as many flocked to nature sites to enjoy the outdoors during the weeklong Passover holiday, which ended Wednesday evening.

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