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2 killed as prisoner relatives' bus collides with truck

June 24, 2013 1:18 P.M. (Updated: June 25, 2013 11:15 A.M.)
Correction appended

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Two people were killed and 20 others were wounded on Monday when a bus transporting prisoners' children collided with a truck near the Israeli Civil Administration office in the northern Gaza Strip, witnesses said.

The Al-Asra Center for Prisoners identified one of the victims as 11-year-old Tariq Sakini, from the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City. His father, Ahmad Sakani, is serving a 27-year sentence in Israel.

Tariq was born after his father was imprisoned and had only been able to visit him twice, the center said.

Gaza civil defense spokesman Mohammad al-Maydana said the bus was transporting around 25 to 30 relatives of prisoners. The injured were transferred to hospital for treatment.

Road works were being carried out at the time of the accident, al-Maydana said.

The children were participating in a summer camp.

In a separate incident, around 80 people were turned back from the Erez crossing in northern Gaza, where they had planned to leave for Israel to visit detained family members.

The relatives of prisoners had headed to the Erez crossing but soldiers said they were not allowed to cross.

Israeli authorities shut down all Gaza crossings in response to rocket fire, citing "security reasons," to Palestinian Authority liaison officer Raed Fattouh.

Israel recently reactivated its Gaza prisoner visit program, after suspending it in 2007 following Hamas' take over of the coastal enclave.

(This version CORRECTS that the children were taking part in a summer camp, and were not visiting their relatives in prison.)
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