Knesset, Govt. Buildings Threatened by Fire
A fire that began in the Jerusalem Forest is threatening the Knesset. The fire, which broke out in a wooded area not far from Israel's parliament, is proving difficult to bring under control because of the high temperatures Thursday.
Officials are not yet sure how the fire broke out. In the past, police have said that wildfires that broke out in the Jerusalem area and other parts of the country were acts of “arson terrorism” carried out by Arabs. A brush fire that erupted last week in the Carmel National Park near Haifa was thought by firefighters to have been caused by arson.
Large numbers of firefighters have been called in to deal with the blaze. Potentially affected by the fire is not only the Knesset, but the many government buildings and museums in the area. None of the buildings have been evacuated yet, but officials are prepared to go ahead with an evacuation plan if necessary.
Besides the Jerusalem fire, two other large forest fires broke out in the Wadi Ara area, near the Arab town of Um el-Faham. The two fires follow another large one that broke out Wednesday. Officials said they suspect arson in all three fires.