Firefighting teams work to battle enormous forest fire
Firefighting teams work to battle enormous forest fireYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Two 17-year-olds were arrested early Wednesday morning, on suspicion that they set fire to several locations in the Ramot neighborhood of Jerusalem, Maariv reported.

The arrest follows a report of several fires around the neighborhood, as well as a report that a number of youths were observed setting the fires. Police forces arriving at the scene began to search the area and located the two suspects, both aged 17, who were taken to the police station for interrogation.

According to Maariv, the fires were set in public parks, mostly those with trees. Residents reported in several instances that they saw the two youths actually setting the fires. Police arriving at the scene chased the teens on foot for a short distance before reaching and arresting them.

According to the police officers, both of those arrested smelled like fire. Police sources also noted that it seems the fires were set out of a desire for mischief.

Fires blazing in the Jerusalem hills from Sunday through Tuesday caused worse damage than the 2010 Mount Carmel disaster: This week, 25,000 dunams of nature were burned, whereas in 2010, the damage was 24,000 dunams. Among the firefighting teams, a suspicion is growing that the fire was set intentionally and was not the result of human error.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Ministry has warned that air pollution in the area is very high. The Health Ministry has warned those with heart and lung conditions, the elderly, children, and pregnant women to avoid spending time outside unnecessarily, and has warned the rest of the population to avoid physical activity outside as much as possible, as well as to close the windows and turn on air conditioners.