Israeli Air Force Plane Crashes into Empty Synagogue; Building Destroyed

An Israeli Air Force plane crashed this morning into an empty synagogue at Kiryat Tivon east of Haifa, destroying the building but injuring no one. The pilot bailed out safely before the crash. The type of plane and the nature of its mission were not disclosed.

The crash occurred at 9 a.m. local time and police immediately cordoned off the area. The synagogue building was gutted by flames before the fire brigade could put out the blaze. The interior, including the Ark and Torah scrolls, was totally destroyed. The Town Council announced immediate plans to rebuild the synagogue.

A supermarket some 20 yards from the synagogue building was full of customers at the time and police said it was miraculous that no one was hurt. Mrs. Rachel Szigetti, who lives opposite the synagogue, suffered only minor bruises caused by stones falling from the synagogue walls. She said she saw the plane coming down almost vertically and thought at first that it was a helicopter. She said she threw herself to the floor seconds before the plane crashed and exploded setting fire to the synagogue.

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