Fire in Haifa's Romema neighborhood
Fire in Haifa's Romema neighborhoodHof Region Fire and Rescue Services

Israel on Thursday evening accepted an offer of help from the Palestinian Authority (PA), which sent four firetrucks to help extinguish the fires that broke out throughout Israel.

The PA’s civil defense director, Maj. Gen. Yousef Nassar, said that fire crews were making final preparations before joining the firefighting efforts. The operation is being coordinated through the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

Meanwhile, four firefighting aircraft arrived in Israel on Thursday from Cyprus and Greece, and additional aircraft came from Russia, Turkey, the UK, Italy and Croatia.

The biggest fires so far were recorded in the city of Haifa, where 85,000 people in eight neighborhoods were forced to leave their homes.

Of some 200 fires recorded over the past three days, Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan said it was estimated that roughly one half were deliberately set by Arab arsonists.

Police have arrested eight individuals believed to be responsible for some of the fires over the past three days.

The eight are suspected of operating across northern Israel, setting multiple fires in the midst of a long dry spell, which, along with strong winds, has made for rapid spreading of blazes around the country.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared the arsons acts of terrorism, and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.

"Every fire caused by arson, or incitement to commit arson, is terrorism for all intents and purposes, and we will bring them to justice.”