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Seven die in southern Israel as train hits minibus

Seven die in southern Israel as train hits minibus

Seven people have died and 20 have been injured in a collision between a minibus and a high-speed passenger train near Kiryat Gat in southern Israel.

The minibus was hit at 1905 (1605 GMT) on Route 353, apparently as it tried to pass over a level crossing.

All the dead - including a pregnant woman and two children - and all the injured were travelling in the minibus.

The minibus apparently broke a barrier rail, Israeli Railways said.

Regional military commander Maj-Gen Yohanan Danino said there was evidence the minibus had "crossed into a forbidden place".

Injured people were evacuated by helicopter to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon and Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheba.

Yitzhak Harel, head of Israel Railways, said the train had applied its brakes but had been unable to stop, the Jerusalem Post reports.

"The minibus driver just came at high speed, I do not know why, all the warning systems were working," he said.

One train passenger quoted by Haaretz newspaper said: "We heard a boom.

"Suddenly the train started to slow and there was a burning smell. We got out and what we saw was horrible - the minibus was simply pulverised.

"We couldn't believe what we were seeing, some of the passengers on the train had no idea what was happening."


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