Prime Minister Netanyahu
Prime Minister NetanyahuHillel Meir/TPS

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded to the tragic events in southern Israel Thursday, praising the search and rescue teams deployed to the Nahal Tzafit area west of the Dead Sea.

On Thursday, a flash flood hit a group of 25 Israeli teens visiting the area from a pre-army academy.

While nine students were said to be in critical condition, Israel Police confirmed that several had been declared dead in the incident. Earlier reports by MDA teams in the field stated that three students had been declared dead on the scene.

One student remains missing, and search and rescue teams, including an Israeli Air Force unit, are searching the area.

The Prime Minister has closely monitored the situation, the Prime Minister's Office reported, receiving regular updates on rescue efforts from Major General Nitzan Alon, chief of the IDF’s Operations Directorate.

"I commend the security and rescue forces that are now working to save lives and locate the missing in the terrible disaster that took place today in Nahal Tzafit," Netanyahu said in a statement. "We are all praying for better news."