Tens of Fires are 'Terror Arson'

Smoke filled the air over large parts of northern Israel as dozens of fires broke out simultaneously. Fire brigade says it’s a form of Arab terror.

Gil Ronen ,

Fighting a fire in northern Israel
Fighting a fire in northern Israel
Israel news photo: Flash 90 (file)

Fire fighters in northern Israel fought dozens of blazes that broke out during the day Wednesday, most of them around noontime.

A source in the Hadera Fire Services told News1 that due to the fact that numerous fires broke out in a relatively limited area, the working assumption is that they were deliberately set. “We still do not know how the fires were set and we do not have details about the arsonist or arsonists,” he said.

Fire in northern Israel, February 2009 (Israel news photo: Flash 90)

In one of the fire locations, north of Rosh Pina, the fire spread to within close range of the residents of Rosh Pina, and dozens were asked to leave their homes. The Israel Land Fund said that more than 1,000 dunams of natural thickets had gone up in flames.

Arson likely
Initial investigations by fire fighter squads in the numerous fire locations found a likelihood of arson. “This is man-made terror,” a fire commander said. “Fires don’t just break out on their own.”

Fire locations included the Gilon Forest and locations near Karmiel and between Sakhnin and Kibbutz Eshbal. 200 dunams of natural thickets near the Yesha Fortress in the Upper Galilee were also burned. The vegetation in the area had been recovering from fires ignited by Katyusha rockets in the Second Lebanon War.

A large fire broke out in the hay storage facility at Kibbutz Giladi. Three large fires broke out near Tzfat, damaging electrical lines and causing disruptions to Tzfat’s power supply at noontime.

Dozens of fires broke out in the Wadi Ara area between Hadera and Afula. The thick smoke made it necessary to close off traffic on Highway 65 for some time.