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Car accident on main West Bank highway leaves 6 Palestinians killed, dozens injured

June 27, 2017 4:03 P.M. (Updated: June 28, 2017 10:49 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Six Palestinians were killed and dozens others were injured in a car accident Tuesday afternoon involving at least one private car, a Palestinian public transportation vehicle, and a bus for Israeli settlers in the central occupied West Bank on Route 60 -- the main highway that runs north and south in the territory.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said that the dead included four children, a woman, and a man, all of whom were riding in the Palestinian minibus, which generally seat about nine people.

Their bodies, trapped in the wreckage of the vehicle, were pulled out before being declared dead, al-Samri said.

The Palestinian Civil Administration later identified the victims as Adel Ahmad Khatib, the driver, from the village of Zaatara in the occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem and Sulafa Taysir, the woman, who was also a resident of Zaatara, and her four children Ahmad, Muhammad, Issa and Ilana Dabash.

Sulafa and her children all carried Jerusalem IDs since her husband is a Jerusalem resident.

A child, identified as Taysir Dabash, the brother of the three deceased children, was also injured in the accident and taken to a hospital for treatment where he was reported to be in critical condition, the civil administration said.

The driver of the Israeli bus was also moderately injured, according to al-Samri.

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported about two hours after the accident that Israeli police were still holding the bodies of the six Palestinians.

By 5:30 p.m., the Palestinian Civil Affairs office confirmed the return of the bodies and said they were being transferred to the Palestine Medical Center, and added that their bodies would be transferred at a later time to the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute in Tel Aviv to undergo autopsies.

Israel's emergency medical service Magen David Adom‏ (MDA) said it had evacuated a 17-year-old male in a severe condition to a hospital for treatment, and also said the Israeli bus driver, who was 50-years-old, was in moderate condition.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said vehicles collided on the highway near the illegal Israeli Ofra settlement, and that police were conducting an investigation into the details of the incident.

Jerusalem-based Palestinian outlet al-Quds News shared a video showing onlookers, Israeli medics, and security personnel surrounding the site of the accident.

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