Overturned bus in Wadi Ara Oct. 30, 2010 (Nitzan Shorer)
The overturned bus in Wadi Ara on Saturday, October 30, 2010. Photo by Nitzan Shorer
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Arab residents of Wadi Ara rioted and threw stones at rescue crews after a pickup truck reportedly fleeing police hit a bus in the area. The driver of the truck, Ahmed Jabarin, 21, of Umm al-Fahm, was killed and 20 people on the bus were injured in the crash. According to police, Jabarin was trying to escape a traffic police check.

Police said the crash took place at about 3:40 P.M. yesterday. Jabarin was driving a pickup truck on Route 65, passing through the Wadi Ara area, when traffic police flagged him down for a routine license check.

When he was asked to show his driver's license, police said, Jabarin began driving away, making a U-turn at a nearby junction and trying to escape the way he came. Almost immediately he hit a Nissan and then a bus full of tourists coming from the north.

Jabarin's car was crushed by the bus, which then overturned into a ditch by the side of the road.

Police said Jabarin's license has expired 18 months ago.

Because of the potentially high number of casualties, a number of Magen David Adom ambulances were called to the scene. One team tried to resuscitate Jabarin, but to no avail. Twenty bus passengers were lightly injured and taken to Haemek Hospital in Afula.

The rescue teams' work was interrupted by a number of local youth, who threw stones at police and ambulance crews, as well as at cars passing on the road.

Police reinforcements were called to the scene and the rioters were dispersed.

Congestion on the road passing through Wadi Ara continued into the early evening, and traffic was diverted to alternative routes.