Two Israeli youth counselors killed, 5 injured in Sinai car crash

Two Israeli youth counselors killed, 5 injured in Sinai car crash

Two young Israelis were killed and another five injured Thursday in a traffic accident in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, just outside the border with Israel.

The seven, who according to Hebrew media were all counselors at a boarding school in Jerusalem, were returning from a beach holiday and only minutes from the border when the taxi carrying them crashed into another vehicle.

The victims were identified as Yuval Keshet, 24, from Haifa, and Moshe Matan Luzon, 25, from Petah Tikva.

“A terrible tragedy has befallen us,” Boyer Boarding School staff wrote in a message to students and parents. “We have lost our loved ones.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs initially said that two of the seven were in critical condition. They were later declared dead in Egypt. The five wounded were first taken to a local medical clinic before being taken to the border and then to Eilat’s Yoseftal Medical Center.

Israel Defense Forces helicopters were initially sent to help bring the injured to hospitals in Israel. According to Hebrew media reports, Cairo would not allow the helicopters to land inside Egypt, delaying the Israelis’ return by several hours.

Moshe Matan Luzon, left, and Yuval Keshet. (Social Media)

They were instead brought to the border crossing and handed over. Channel 12 reported that the Egyptians had initially given permission for the helicopters to land in Egypt, but then reversed their decision.

The accident took place in the Nuweiba region of Sinai, a 20-minute drive from the border crossing into Israel.

The father of one of the injured Israelis told Kan news that he was able to speak to his daughter and she had told him that the group was heading towards the Taba border crossing into Israel when the accident happened and that she had blamed the driver.

“The driver was driving at a crazy speed, overtaking [another vehicle]and crashed into an oncoming car,” he told Kan, quoting his daughter.

He spoke of his relief that she had survived. “I got my daughter as a gift,” he said.

In 2006, 12 Israelis were killed and many others injured in a traffic accident in Sinai. Some of the victims’ families claimed that it was a terrorist attack and that the driver deliberately crashed the vehicle.

Earlier this month, 23 people were killed when a passenger bus slammed into a parked trailer on a highway in southern Egypt.

Traffic accidents kill thousands every year in Egypt, which has a poor transport safety record. Crashes are mainly caused by speeding, careless driving, bad roads or poor enforcement of traffic laws.

In January, at least 16 people were killed and 18 others injured when a minibus collided with a public transport bus in the Sinai Peninsula. Last April, a bus overturned while trying to pass a truck on a highway in the southern province of Assiut, leaving at least 21 people dead and three others injured.

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