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Grisly scenes as deadly wildfire rages in Israel

Roni Sofer / Polaris

Haifa, Israel: At least 36 Israeli guards trying to rescue prisoners, mostly Palestinians, threatened by a forest fire died when their bus became trapped. As they raced toward the prison a lone tree fell across the road. With no way out, many of them were burned alive in the bus. Here, trainee guards attempt to flee the burning bus. Photographer shot this image through the rear window of his car while racing out of the flames.

Roni Sofer / Polaris

Haifa, Israel: At least 36 Israeli guards trying to rescue prisoners, mostly Palestinians, threatened by a forest fire died when their bus became trapped. As they raced toward the prison a lone tree fell across the road. With no way out, many of them were burned alive in the bus. Others perished while trying to flee. The flames forced 12,000 people from their homes, leveled a village and threatened to cause irreparable harm to one of Israel's few forests. The fire was still burning Friday. Turkey, Greece, Spain, Cyprus and other countries agreed to send firefighting helicopters. The blaze blackened some 1,600 acres.

 

This top image is just haunting. Tragedy can happen instantly in a wildfire.

To see more images from the fire click here.

NBC's John Ray explains how the population near Haifa is paying the price for a natural disaster that may have caught the Israeli government unprepared.