18 killed after flash flood sweeps away students, teachers near Dead Sea

At least 17 dead, dozens missing in Dead Sea floods

At least 17 dead, dozens missing in Dead Sea floods

Large stretches of the Dead Sea highway remained closed to traffic because of the rescue operations, a bridge collapse and fears of further floods with forecasts of more rain. Relatives sobbed and searched for details about the missing children, a witness said.

Police chief Brigadier General Farid al Sharaa told state television the torrential rains swept away a bus carrying 44 children and teachers who were on a school trip picnicking in the popular destination.

"I and all Jordanians are also bereaved by this tragedy", His Majesty said, adding that the tragedy touched the hearts of people in the region and around the world, who expressed their solidarity with Jordan.

The search for survivors continued after daybreak, with helicopters and teams with sniffer dogs scouring the rocky slopes near the Dead Sea in the Jordan Valley.

"[The floodwaters] swept away the students for 4 to 5 kilometers [2-3 miles]", Brig.

As night fell, huge spotlights were trained on the cliffs around the sea, finding 10 people awaiting rescue, alongside more bodies.

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At least two hand grenade explosions and sporadic gunfire from around the compound were also reported by officials. A top Afghan security commander, Kandahar police chief Gen Abdul Raziq , has been shot dead by a bodyguard.

"We are now assisting Jordan in rescuing a bus full of children swept away in a flood on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea".

King Abdallah canceled a trip to Bahrain to follow the rescue operations, state media said.

"In light of a request from the Jordanian government, a number of air force helicopters with 669 soldiers, led by the commander of the unit, were dispatched", an IDF statement read.

King Abdullah II of Jordan, said that the Dead Sea flood incident "was a great tragedy that hurt all of us as Jordanians, God bless the dead and give us patience".

Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said it appeared the school had broken regulations by going ahead with the trip, which had been banned in the Dead Sea area because of bad weather.

An official with Jordan's civil defence department told the Jordan Times newspaper the death toll was expected to increase.

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