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      Eight Year Old is Fifth Victim in Akko Explosion

      Police are investigating if gas canister that is believed to have caused the explosion was set off deliberately.
      By David Lev
      First Publish: 2/17/2014, 7:39 AM

      Site of Akko explosion
      Site of Akko explosion
      Magen David Adom

      The body of an eight-year-old boy was pulled from the debris of an apartment building in Akko Monday, after an explosion blew apart the building early Monday morning. The boy was the last missing person in the explosion, with rescue workers spending hours picking through the debris in the hopes of finding him alive.

      The death of the eight year old brings the toll in the explosion to five. Three people were declared dead at the scene when an explosion blew apart an apartment building in the northern Israeli city of Akko early Monday, and a fourth was declared dead after being treated at a nearby hospital. Twelve people were injured in the explosion, two of them seriously. The injured were taken to Rambam Hospital in Haifa for treatment, where one of them succumbed from their wounds.

      The explosion was caused by a gas canister explosion, police said. The explosion, which occurred at about 4:00 a.m., caused part of the building to collapse, trapping an unknown number of people under debris. Rescue workers are in touch with several of the trapped, but said that there were others whose whereabouts were unknown.

      “It could take a long time to remove them,” a rescue official said. One side of the three story building collapsed, police said.

      Police said that they were examining the possibility that the explosion was not an accident, but criminally motivated. Speaking to reporters, a police official said "we know there was a cellphone antenna on the building, and this had caused a bitter dispute in the neighborhood. It's possible that this explosion was caused on purpose, with someone setting the gas canister to explode," the official added. Another official also said that police were investigating the possibility that the explosion was due to a fight between neighbors.

      Akko (Acre) Google Maps

      In a similar incident last month, a couple and their two-year-old baby were tragically killed in a gas tank explosion in Jerusalem.

      The blast occurred on the third floor of a four story building in the city’s Gilo neighborhood.

      A similar incident in Netanya killed four people and wounded 88 in June of 2011.