Daily Israel Report

Nearly 40 Forest Fires in Galilee; Police Suspect Arab Arson

Police suspect Arab arson involved in 38 different forest fires that broke out in the Galilee over the weekend.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 10/23/2011, 4:31 AM

Fire (archive)
Fire (archive)
Tatzpit photo

Police suspect that nearly 40 forest fires that broke out in the Galilee region over the weekend were intentionally started by Arab terrorists.

One of the fires started on Friday afternoon on the outskirts of the towns of Ahihud and Yasur, east of Akko. Three local residents who suffered from smoke inhalation, as well as one journalist who accidently inhaled the material sprayed by the firefighting planes, were taken to the hospital in Nahariya.

Some residents also had to be evacuated from their homes for fears the fire would spread. The fire was eventually put out without any further injuries.

This, however, was only one incident. Firefighters reported of no less than 38 different forest fires over the weekend, including 29 that broke out in open areas. Hundreds of dunams of planted and natural forests burned down.

After assessing the situation on Saturday, police said they believe the fires were started by terrorists and have set up investigative teams to capture the perpetrators.

MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) blamed the arsons, as well as the terror attack in Jerusalem over Shabbat, on the deal with Hamas to release Gilad Shalit. 477 Arab terrorists were released from Israeli prisons last week in exchange for Shalit.

“We are witnessing a new wave of terrorism which is a result of the boost provided to terrorism when hundreds of terrorist murderers were release,” Eldad said.

He called for “a quick restoration of the deterrence against Hamas by eliminating its leaders in Gaza. Taking action now, rather than waiting for a large terror attack, will push away the expected wave of terrorism and save the lives of Jews.”

MKs Yaakov Katz and Uri Ariel, also from the National Union, said on Saturday, “The stabbing attack in Jerusalem this evening, along with the stabbing attempt in Gush Etzion and the arson in the Galilee, are signs announcing the next wave of terrorism against us following Netanyahu’s shameful surrender to Hamas.”

They added, “It’s now time that Netanyahu instruct the security forces led by Defense Minister Ehud Barak to stop working against the residents and outposts in Judea and Samaria, and direct their efforts to act firmly against terrorism.”