URGENT Eight Soldiers Dead, Seven Injured
Dec. 09, 1985
EDITORS (AP) _ The following story was submitted to the Israeli military censor, who made a significant change.
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) - Eight soldiers died and seven others were injured early today when fire engulfed an army barracks near the Jordanian border, the military command announced.
Investigators and trackers who searched the army base said they found no signs of guerrilla infiltration, Israel Radio reported.
But it was not clear what caused the blaze because the camp's generator was turned off for the night, cutting all electricity, the radio said.
The Israeli military censor banned immediate publication of some details.
The blaze occurred at 1:30 a.m. (6:30 p.m. EST) near the Jewish settlement of Maaleh Efraim, 12 miles west of the Jordanian border and 24 miles east of Tel Aviv, the military command announced.
''It was a terrible sight. Tongues of flame were shooting out the windows,'' the camp's deputy commander said on the radio.
''Soldiers were crowding around helplessly. We managed to pull out one soldier by the skin of his teeth. But then the fire overcame us and we couldn't do any more,'' said the commander, who was not identified in keeping with military regulations.
The barracks were in a prefabricated building made of highly flammable materials, the radio reported.
A few dozen soldiers slept in the 16-room building in sleeping bags, making it difficult for rescuers to pull some out, it said.
The brief announcement said the seven soldiers suffered light to moderate injuries.