Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said Friday morning that a criminal investigation will follow the giant blaze in the north. "We will be checking whether certain officials were negligent, whether arson was involved. But we will wait a few days," he said.
Abu-Kabir forensic institute worked through Thursday night in efforts to identify the bodies of victims claimed by what many are saying is the worst fire in Israel's history.
A police spokesman said Friday morning an additional body has been identified, bringing the death toll up to 41.
Early Friday, some of the victims’ names were cleared for publication:
- Oshrat Pinto, 26, Safed
- Ronen Peretz, 34, Ashkelon
- Hagai Jurno, 28, Kiryat Gat
- Roi Biton, 28, Kiryat Gat
- Yakir Suissa, 25, Dimona
- Inbal Amoyal, 26, Dimona
- Siom Tsagai, 31, Netivot
- Kfir Ohana, 30, Ofakim
- Wasim Abu-Rish, 28, Yirka
- Nisher Tapash Adal, 33, Beit Jan
- Misher Vizel Eran, 31, Kiryat Bialik
Officials said 36 Prison Service guards were killed, as well as two firefighters.
Two police officers are also missing since yesterday: Commander Lior Boker and Superintendent Yitzhak Malina. Both were traveling in police cruisers close to the bus in which the Prison Service guards were killed when Police Commander Ahuva Tomer was injured.
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In a briefing of firefighters and police Friday morning, Deputy Inspector General Roni Atiya said a search would be conducted in areas burned Thursday in an effort to locate additional victims.
He said 16 people were currently hospitalized after sustaining injuries in the blaze. "Our main goal is to save lives," he said, calling on residents not to return to evacuated homes.
Abu-Kabir Director, Professor Yehuda Hiss, recalled terror attacks as he took charge of his grim mission, identifying the bodies of victims. "The number of victims is high, and to my regret this is similar to events we experienced in the past with large numbers of casualties," he said.
"Our all teams are here," said Professor Hiss, adding that "we went through all the terror attacks in the past 25 years. The method of examination is quite similar."
"However, the number of victims is relatively higher than what we experienced in previous times," he said.
Forensic institute officials embarked on the grim task of identifying the victims late Thursday and were hoping to complete the job by Friday morning.
Meanwhile, social workers belonging to the Israel Prison Service, the Tel Aviv City Hall, and the Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv also arrived at the site to support the relatives of the victims, who were on hand to identify their loved ones. If necessary, the support staff will assist in collecting DNA samples from family members.
Earlier Thursday, The Interior Ministry's casualty information center, operated in conjunction with the IDF Home Front Command, has been reopened for the first time since the Second Lebanon War to collect all the information on blaze victims.
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