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Fatal bus crash in the West Bank

Jerusalem, Israel - November 26, 2015 4:01PM

A bus carrying IDF soldiers overturned earlier today (26/11/15) near the West Bank settlement of Rimonim near Ramallah, killing one Israeli soldier and injuring tens of passengers, several seriously.

ZAKA Jerusalem commander and veteran volunteer Benzi Oring: "This was a bullet-proof bus that overturned at the side of the road with over 30 passengers who were injured. A young woman aged about 18 was killed at the site, two others were seriously wounded and the remaining passengers were lightly injured. We arrived at the scene of the crash; a military helicopter evacuated the seriously wounded to hospital and a team of ZAKA volunteers are working to clear the site of human remains after dealing with the body of the crash victim. The cause of the accident is still under investigation."

Photos courtesy of ZAKA

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ZAKA, founded in 1995, is Israel's dominant non-governmental lifesaving, rescue and recovery organisation, with over 1500 volunteers, 34 ambulances and 162 motorcycles deployed around the country, on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to respond to any terror attack, disaster or accident immediately, professionally and with the necessary equipment.

ZAKA, which is perhaps best known for its sacred work in collecting human remains to ensure a proper Jewish burial, is also active in the fields of emergency response (using motorcycles equipped with first aid and fire-fighting equipment), search and rescue (including specialist canine, divers and rappelling units) and accident prevention. As a consequence of the Second Lebanon War, a joint ZAKA and IDF Home Front unit has been formed to deal with any future home front emergencies.

ZAKA, recognized in 2005 by the United Nations as an international humanitarian organisation, also sends highly trained volunteers to assist in international disasters, working in conjunction with other emergency personnel. These include the Tsunami and Phuket plane crash in Thailand, the Katrina hurricane disaster in New Orleans, the Columbia space shuttle crash and terror attacks in Turkey, Mombasa and Taba, among others.

ZAKA is the Hebrew acronym for Disaster Victim Identification - a name that today, with the broadened scope of the organisation, conceals so much more than it reveals.

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