Israel police arrive in Ethiopia to identify remains amid ZAKA debacle

The delegations, composed of nine different units, took samples from the families of the victims and pictures in hopes of using the families' information to help identify the deceased.

By
March 19, 2019 10:17
2 minute read.
Pallbearers carry the coffins of the victims of the Ethiopian Airline Flight ET 302 plane crash, dur

Pallbearers carry the coffins of the victims of the Ethiopian Airline Flight ET 302 plane crash, during the burial ceremony at the Holy Trinity Cathedral Orthodox church in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 17, 2019. . (photo credit: REUTERS/TIKSA NEGERI)

 
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The Israeli Police Force sent a delegation of forensic experts to help identify the victims from the fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash that arrived in Addis Ababa on Monday, even after ZAKA volunteers were denied access to the crash site.

"We are embarking on a national mission and joining the international effort and other delegations that will arrive in the field," Chief Superintendent Ilan Peer, the head of the delegation said. "Our goal is to identify the two Israelis who perished in the disaster."

The delegations, composed of nine different units, took samples from the families of the victims and pictures in hopes of using the families' information to help identify the deceased. Additionally, dentists joined the mission in hopes of finding dental matches.



The day after the crash, which was on Sunday, March10th, Israel sent a ZAKA emergency response team to help locate the remains of the two Israeli passengers, Avraham Matzliah and Shimon Re'em. All 157 passengers on Flight ET 302 were killed, when the Nairobi-bound plane crashed minutes after it took off. However, ZAKA respondents as well as others around the world, were not permitted to help with the process of searching for remains.

President Reuven Rivlin called Ethiopian President Sahle Work Zawde on Friday to urge her to allow ZAKA volunteers access to the crash site, explaining the importance of finding the bodies of the two Israelis. The Jewish religion emphasizes the necessity of burying the remains of deceased Jewish people in hallowed ground.


ZAKA volunteers have expressed dismay that the Ethiopian government was not handling the aftermath of the plane crash well.

"Ambassadors of the countries are walking around the hotel without the ability to help the families because the Ethiopians are not cooperating with them," ZAKA chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav said after the volunteers were prevented from assisting with the efforts.

When The Jerusalem Post asked Police Spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld, if there will be a foreseeable problem for the police delegation to offer their assistance, Rosenfeld did not think there would be an issue. The police delegation would focus on the identification within a lab or center and not on the crash site, where he believes the issue currently lies.

Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report. 

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