Image Credit: Nasouh Nazzal, Gulf News

Ramallah: Salem Abdullah Abu Markhiyah, who was called by the families of the dead and injured kids a national hero, was badly beaten by the Israeli military forces and hospitalised, and once he is released from the hospital, he should meet the Israeli police for investigation.

Abu Markhiyah who is originally from the city of Hebron was the first on the accident scene while he was on his way to his work, coordinated the public efforts to put the fire which raged in the bus off and rescued at least 24 kids from the bus.

Speaking to Gulf News, Abu Markhiyah who owns a tyre fixing shop in Ramallah said the ragging fire, which broke in the bus, "did not give us a chance to reach the kids inside the bus. We had first to put the fire off and then reach the kids.”

“We used the fire extinguishers of our private cars. We were also lucky with the heavy rain and the water which made a wadi on the street,” he stressed, with some volunteers felling containers from the street water and pouring on the bus.

“Some kids with a miracle managed to get off the bus sustaining minor injuries, but the majority of them were trapped inside,” he said. “Once the fire was initially put under control, I managed to get inside the bus where I personally cleared eight burned bodies of the little ones,” he said.

“Israel and Israeli occupation forces are fully held responsible for this tragedy. They have acted in a mean way showing no humanity at all,” he said.

“The Jaba’a Israeli Military Checkpoint was less than100 meters from the accident scene, with the Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint watching a couple of people with no tools and collecting water from the ground to help the crying and shouting little kids,” he said.

The Israeli colony of Adam was also less than 200 meters away from the accident scene, but they never acted to help in putting the fire off and save the little ones onboard.