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Five members of a single family died yesterday when their car caught fire after being hit by a truck near the Arava junction. The family were on their way to a wedding in Haifa.

Shortly after passing the Arava junction to the east, a truck coming from the direction of Sodom veered and crashed into the sedan. As a result of the crash the vehicle caught on fire and the passengers were killed.

When questioned by police the driver, Mohammed al-Jabour, 24, said that "the glove compartment in my truck's cabin burst open hitting me in the head. I was startled and veered into the opposite lane."

Police are investigating suspicions that he fell asleep and that he drove too fast for the road conditions. He will be remanded into police custody later today.

The family, Lior Dahan, 31, his wife, Tali, in her 20s, their 6-month-old daughter, Shilat, Lior's mother, Ruth and his sister Sarit, a soldier, were on their way to a wedding in Haifa. The family is survived by a brother serving in the Kfir Brigade of the Israel Defense Forces.

The brother, who is serving in the Jordan Valley was on a bus to Haifa from his base, and tried to call his mother but to no avail. He later read on his cellular phone about a deadly crash in the Jordan Valley.

He says that he understood that "something happened."

Rescue crews, fire fighters and helicopters rushed to the scene of the accident. The truck driver was lightly injured and taken to Soroka Hospita in Be'er Sheva.

Magen David Adom paramedic Moshe Asulin said that "when we got to the site the car had been nearly totally burnt, and the truck was on its side. As MDA personnel we see a lot of things, but this was a sight that you do not see every day. An entire family burnt. There was no chance to save them."

Asulin told Army Radio that "we removed the bodies from the vehicle with firefighters from the Dead Sea and Dimona and the feeling was terrible, everybody's face was miserable."

Gershon Kalimi, one of the firefighters said that "we got a report from MDA and passersby of the accident and we saw a Hyundai sedan on fire. We tried to put out the flames and pull those trapped out of the car, but failed. All of them burned. In the end we pulled out four adult corpses and that of a baby."