JERUSALEM - At least eight Palestinian children and a teacher were killed Thursday when an articulated lorry skidded on a wet road in the West Bank and collided with a school bus, police and medics said.
“There are between eight and 10 Palestinian children dead ... and more than 30 injured,” Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP.
Medical officials at the main hospital in the West Bank city of Ramallah said a teacher was among the dead, and that many of the children were “of kindergarten age” — between four and six years old.
Relatives of the injured told AFP the bus was carrying children from a Palestinian school in Anata in east Jerusalem who were going on an outing to Ramallah.
A spokesman for Israel’s emergency services put the injury toll at closer to 40, and said those hurt had been taken to hospitals in Jerusalem and Ramallah.
Police said the accident occurred when the lorry skidded on the wet road at a busy junction just north of Jerusalem, with the truck driver, who was Arab, also injured in the collision.
Relatives of the injured said he was a Palestinian from east Jerusalem.
“A horrific traffic accident took place north of Jerusalem, apparently there was a crash between and Israeli lorry and a Palestinian bus which had children on it. As a result, the bus flipped over and burst into flames,” a police statement said.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas declared three days of national mourning and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent condolences and an offer of help.
“Flags will fly at half-mast at all institutions,” Abbas said in a televised announcement.
Netanyahu “expresses his regret at the death of the teacher and the pupils,” his office said. “The prime minister offers the Palestinian Authority any aid it may request.”