(JNS.org) Eight women in their 50s were killed and 28 others were hurt in a deadly bus accident on Route 31 in southern Israel on Tuesday.
The accident occurred when a truck hauling agricultural machinery crashed into a bus carrying a group of Muslim women from a visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem back to their homes in the Bedouin town of Hura. Following an initial survey of the scene, the police decided to launch a criminal investigation. Both the truck driver, a resident of Ramla, and the bus driver, from Kuseife, were detained for questioning. The truck driver submitted to a blood alcohol test.
The eight women were all pronounced dead at the scene. The bus, part of an organized shuttle that takes Bedouin women from Hura to prayers at Al-Aqsa and back every Tuesday, was carrying 54 passengers. The initial investigation revealed that the truck was carrying a cultivator (a machine used to break up soil and uproot weeds) hitched to a tractor. The cultivator extended beyond the side of the truck and apparently into the opposite lane, far beyond what is permitted by law. When the bus neared the truck, the machine sliced through the left side of the bus.
“When we arrived at the scene, we noted that eight women who were sitting on the left side of the bus had borne the brunt of the impact and they were killed instantly,” said a paramedic who was among the first to arrive at the scene, according to Israel Hayom. “It was a shocking sight.”