The death toll from the worst forest fire in Israel's history rose to 43 Saturday morning when a Prison Service cadet who sustained critical injuries during the blaze succumbed to his wounds.
Jalal Bissan, 29, was injured when the bus he was travelling on last week was caught in the flames while carrying Prison Service cadets on their way to Damon jail in the Mount Carmel area to help evacuate inmates there.
The Rambam Medical Center in Haifa said Bissan, a resident of the Arab village Jatt in the northern Galilee region, never regained consciousness since he was admitted to the intensive care unit nine days ago. He is survived by his wife and two children. His funeral is scheduled to take place at noon Sunday in Jatt.
Thirty-six other cadets from the Prison Service guards' course were killed in the woodland inferno.
"Jalal's goal was to move up in the Prison Service ranks and he was accepted to officers' course," said the commander of the Prison Service's central district. "He was a very serious and dependable person."
Bus in which cadets were killed (Photo: Reuters)
Dr. Yaron Bar Lavi, director of the Intensive Care Unit at Rambam, said Bissan arrived at the hospital with burns covering 95% of his body and was hooked up to an artificial lung for the last two days of his life. He apparently died as a result of a severe infection, Bar Lavi said.
Rambam medical officials said firefighter Danny Hayat's condition remains serious. The Afula resident underwent extensive skin grafting on Thursday.
Ahiya Raved and Raanan Ben-Zur contributed to the report
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