The bus fire in Tzfat
The bus fire in TzfatNorthern District Fire and Rescue spokesperson

Eighteen buses were burned Friday night in the Central Bus Station in the northern city of Tzfat.

Firefighting teams at the scene gained control of the fire.

Israel Police have confirmed that the fire was caused by arson, and have opened an investigation into the matter.

The fire began just after 3:00a.m., and firefighting chief Dror Buchnik, who was shift commander, ordered that all firefighting teams in the Galilee and Golan areas respond to the scene.

Sixteen of the 18 buses belong to the Afifi Group from Nazareth and to Netiv Express, which is also part of the Afifi Group.

A gang from the Arab town of Tuba-Zangariyye operates in the area, collecting "protection money" under guise of security companies. Among other things, one of the suspicions under investigation is that this gang are the ones who set fire to the buses.

Two weeks ago, eight buses were set ablaze in the northern city of Kiryat Shmona. Those buses belonged to the Metaylei Kiryat Shmona company, and included seven buses and one minibus. That incident is also being investigated as a possible arson.