Arson Season: Large Fire Near Jerusalem

Jerusalem – Tel Aviv highway reopened to traffic in both directions at Motza. Four hurt from smoke inhalation.

Gil Ronen ,

Fire at Motza
Fire at Motza
News 24 / Shmuel Ben Yishai

A large fire is burning near Motza, just outside Jerusalem. Highway 1, which connects Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, was closed to traffic in both directions but reopened at about 4:45 p.m..

Eleven fire crews and several fire extinguishing planes have been battling the blaze, which the Minister of Public Security said was under control by 4:40 p.m.

Four people were hurt from smoke inhalation.

The fire burned at several locations since the early afternoon, including one at Maaleh HaHamisha, where hotel guests were temporarily evacuated.

Major General Niso Shaham, Commander of the Jerusalem Police, said Tuesday afternoon that he "would not fall off [his] chair" if the fire turned out to be a case of arson. In response to a Channel 2 reporter's question, Shaham affirmed that there is currently a plethora of arson attacks in the environs of Jerusalem.

The reporter said that fire fighters told him that there were several incidents of arson every day in the Jerusalem area, and Shaham did not deny this.

News 24 / Shmuel Ben Yishai