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An initial investigation into the deaths of four hikers drowned in flash floods in the Judean Desert shows that the group had arrived at the site before warnings were issued, Army Radio reported Sunday.

The four hikers were named as Tal Alon, 24, from Moshav Mei Ami, and 23-year-olds Dror Koren from Herzeliya, Noa Shapira from Kfar Sava and Amit Gotleib from Rehovot.

Rescue crews and police, with the help of a military helicopter, managed to evacuate seven other hikers.

At first, it seemed that a ranger of the Israel Nature and Parks Protection Authority had some 40 minutes before the tragic accident met up with the hikers and warned that that due to the rains, there was danger of flash floods along the stream.

According to seven rescued trekkers and their guides, the group had moved into the area in the early morning hours, at a time when the weather was good.

Police sources had expressed dismay Saturday at the hikers' behavior.

"These were deaths that could have been prevented had the members of the group listened to the warnings," a police officer said.