Six killed as lorry hits school bus

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A TRUCK lost control in rainy weather and crashed into a Palestinian school bus yesterday, killing five children and a teacher and drawing hundreds of people to a West Bank hospital in an outpouring of grief, police said.

A truck struck the school bus, causing it to flip and catch fire, a police spokesperson confirmed last night. The children killed were aged four to six.

The accident was in the central West Bank, in an area Palestinians claim as their future state but where Israel has full control. Both Israeli and Palestinian rescuers arrived at the scene, and evacuated at least 30 injured passengers to hospitals in Ramallah and Jerusalem.

The truck driver was an Arab Israeli and all the victims were Palestinian. Israeli and Palestinian police are investigating the accident. Police said that there was no suspicion of foul play and its likely that the wintry weather and slippery roads caused the collision.

After the accident, Palestinians rushed to the Ramallah Medical Compound hospital to check on their children and donate blood.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of mourning and ordered flags flown at half-staff. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his condolences.