Israel Dog Unit stonewalls arson attempt in Samaria

The IDU's preparations to search for two new missing people were rudely interrupted by the firebombing of Israeli farms near their base.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Fire sweeps towards a farm in West Tapuah
Fire sweeps towards a farm in West Tapuah
צילום: IDU Public Relations

At 1:40 PM today (Sunday), the Israel Dog Unit, a nonprofit which normally specializes in finding missing persons, received a report of a brushfire spreading towards Israeli farms near the Samaria town of Kfar Tapuach that holds the IDU base. A team of IDU volunteers rushed to the scene, joining the town’s emergency team in battling the blaze that had by that time already consumed hundreds of trees.

Along with fighting the fire directly, the IDU worked to coordinate and direct the Samaria Fire Services vehicles that arrived to reinforce the local security team and used advanced thermal imaging UAVs to supply all forces with real-time situational data, including finding ‘hot spots’ where the fire was centered and keeping the firefighting teams apprised of the wind direction that is a critical factor in woodland firefighting.

Thermal image of the advancing fire. Black spots indicate flame. (IDU Public Relations)

Upon receiving a report from residents of the area that they had seen possible arsonists working to set more trees on fire, the IDU immediately alerted the nearby IDF detachments and began scouting the area surrounding the blaze for the suspects. An IDU drone was able to locate two suspects fleeing the scene and capture descriptions of their vehicles for later use by security forces.

Two individuals (top right) abandon an attempt to spread more fire and flee the area as firefighters approach their position. (IDU Public Relations)

A timely alert from IDU volunteers allowed the firefighting teams to take swift and decisive action to avert a clash with residents of the nearby Palestinian Authority city of Iscacah, who had begun to gather near the edge of the blaze.

Residents of the PA cities of Yassuf and Iscacah gather near the burning area. IDF troops were dispatched to keep the peace between the civilians and the firefighting teams. (IDU Public Relations)

The fire was put out after nearly three consecutive hours of firefighting efforts, which included IDU volunteers and were overseen by IDU drones. IDU aerial imaging of the incident and aftermath was passed on to the fire services for use in the forensic examination of the area affected by the fire.

No one was injured in the incident, although hundreds of olive trees and a large tracts of agricultural land were destroyed.

Israel Dog Unit director Yekutiel Ben-Yaakov commented “The IDU is engaged in a four-front battle - thwarting terror attacks, searching for missing people and fighting fires while attempting to apprehend the arsonists and pursue those who perpetrate agricultural terror. There is never a dull moment during Rosh Hashanah season in the I.D.U."