Head of the seminar arrested after deaths of Israeli teenagers in the floods: the police



JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The head of a seminar that organized a desert walk in which 10 Israeli teenagers died in a flash flood was arrested on suspicion of causing death by negligence, police said.

Israeli rescue services personnel operate near the site where a group of Israeli youths was swept away by a flash flood, near the Zafit river bed, south of the Dead Sea, Israel, April 26, 2018. REUTERS / Amir Cohen [19659003] Nine girls and a boy died when a powerful and sudden torrent through the Zafit river bed, in southern Israel, near the Dead Sea, was spilled on Thursday. Seven of the 10 were buried on Friday.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the seminary director and a teacher were sent to preventive detention until Tuesday on suspicion of causing death by negligence.

It was the deadliest incident of several caused by unusually heavy rains for two days, which caused many normally dry riverbeds to swell in potentially lethal torrents.

The floods also claimed the lives of two children from the Bedouin community in Israel who were dragged in separate torrents on Wednesday.

A Palestinian teenager drowned in the city of Bethlehem in the West Bank, doctors said. A truck driver is still missing after he was apparently dragged into another torrent in Israel, south of the Dead Sea, police said.

Flash floods are a common phenomenon in Israel and the West Bank after heavy rains, as waves of water pass through narrow canals towards the Dead Sea and the rift valley region that runs along the desert of the Negev.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement saying: "All Israel mourns in the terrible tragedy that shortened the lives of ten young and wonderful people who had such a promising future"

. the media quoted one of the participants of the walk, who had no name, and said: "I can not believe that it really comes out with this climate, it is not logical that we go to a place where there will be floods, it is a tempting destination, we are going to die, I mean it. "

Another participant in the conversation thought that her friend's comments were exaggerated; She supposed that the organizers "have some common sense and will take you to other places".

A small section of Israel's concrete separation wall in East Jerusalem that was built to seal Palestinian areas collapsed due to heavy rains but construction equipment was in place to seal the breach, police said.

Fearing stronger thunderstorms on Friday, police shut down some major roads in the Dead Sea region and warned torrent hunters seeking views of spectacular waterfalls and streams that sprout to stay away.

Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Written by Ori Lewis, Edited by Stephen Farrell and William Maclean

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