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Live television footage from the scene, near the city of Netanya in central Israel, showed a carriage on its side and medics carrying out passengers on stretchers.
"A train travelling from Tel Aviv to Haifa struck a truck at ... a junction," a police spokesman said. "As a result of the impact, the first two carriages of the train were derailed. We are dealing with a large number of casualties."
Ambulances and medical evacuation helicopters rushed to the scene. Dazed passengers walked along the tracks, while others used cellular telephones to call loved ones.