Jerusalem area fire contained; 4 Palestinians arrested -YNET

Over 40 firefighting squads, at least two planes extinguish large fire near Moshav Even Sapir; Jerusalem Police: Four Palestinians arrested in connection with blaze

Ynet reporters
Latest Update: 08.08.12, 17:52 / Israel News

Two large fires broke out near Moshav Even Sapir in the Jerusalem area and in the eastern Carmel region.

Over 40 firefighting squads from Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh and two airplanes were deployed to the Even Sapir area to put out the blaze, and four other aircraft were said to be on their way to the scene. Fire and rescue services annouced that the flames have been contained around 5:30 pm.

Acting Jerusalem Police Commissioner Menny Yitzhaki said that four Palestinians have been arrested in connection with the fire. He noted, however, that the police is also looking into the possibility that the fire was caused by negligent behavior of hikers.

Jerusalem Fire Department Chief Captain Shmulik Friedman said that the Fire and Rescue Services are scarcely prepared to handle major blazes.

“Our equipment is old; some of our trucks should have been disposed of long ago. And we are experiencing a firefighter shortage. For a country like Israel, the situation is unacceptable,” he said, adding that “without the firefighting planes we would have been in serious trouble.”

Arik Abulof, a spokesman for the fire department, said earlier that the terrain surrounding the fire prevented access for fire trucks, and anticipated that it could take hours to put out the flames completely.

Several roads in the area were closed to traffic as the fire appeared to be progressing towards the town and the nearby Hadassah Ein-Kerem Medical center, although the authorities decided against ordering residents to evacuate.

Fire and Rescue Services Commissioner Shahar Ayalon arrived at the hospital, where a control center was established. He said that it is too early to determine what caused the fire. He noted that due to the fact that the fire originated at multiple sites, the authorities are looking into the possibility that arson was involved.

Police forces patrolled the wooded area near the fire in search of hikers.

A smaller fire in the Carmel region raged between Yokneam and Kiryat Tivon. Some 20 fire crews were called to battle the flames. Two firefighting aircraft have been scrambled and a police helicopter assisted the efforts. The area was partially inaccessible.

Haifa Fire Services Spokesman Yossi Ben Yossef said, “There is not danger to life or property as this is an uninhabited area.”

A short while later a smaller brushfire broke out in Kiryat Tivon. Five firefighting squads managed to speedily gain control of the flames.,7340,L-4266188,00.html

Fire fighters contain J’lem, Carmel area fires
08/08/2012 18:37

Fire fighters gained control of two fires that broke out on Wednesday afternoon, one in the eastern Carmel mountains, and the other just outside Jerusalem.

Police arrested four Palestinians from the West Bank that they found in the vicinity of the fire near Jerusalem, on suspicion of involvement in starting the fire.

Five fire crews battled the blaze in the North, located near the Jezreel Valley, with the assistance of three water-dropping planes.

Four fire fighting aircraft and twenty teams of fire fighters worked to put out the fire that broke out in Moshav Even Sapir near Jerusalem, setting fire to some 50 dunams of land.

In addition to area firefighters, students from the National Search and Rescue School were dispatched to assist fighting the fire.

Thick smoke approached the Hadassah-Ein Kerem hospital, and hospital staff evacuated 80 percent of the hospital visitors. Hospital management also requested that cars in the underground car packs and on the nearby road also be evacuated.

The emergency services evacuated residents from their homes in the moshav.

No injuries were reported in either fire.

Police arrest four West Bank Palestinians in connection with the fire that broke out in Moshav Even Sapir near Jerusalem.

Police suspect ‘wave of nationalistic arson attacks’ Jerusalem Post
08/09/2012 19:20

Dozens of firefighting crews, planes needed to control Kiryat Tivon blaze, homes burned, residents evacuated.

Police suspect ‘wave of nationalistic arson attacks’
08/09/2012 19:20

Dozens of firefighting crews, planes needed to control Kiryat Tivon blaze, homes burned, residents evacuated.
Israeli Fire and Rescue Service plane Photo: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM
Police said Sunday that they suspect a spate of fires over the past two days is part of a “wave of nationalistically-motivated arson attacks.”

It took some 30 firefighting crews, as well as firefighting aircraft, to gain control over a fire in Kiryat Tivon, south of Haifa on Thursday afternoon. The fire marked the second fire in the area in as many days.

Police evacuated several local residents from their homes. Five homes were damaged in the blaze, but no injuries were reported.

The local municipality opened a shelter for displaced people at the Narkisim school in Kiryat Tivon. An old age home was also evacuated.

Cmdr. Hagai Dotan, head of the Coastal Police said that the fires may be a form of nationalistic attack.

Police arrested four Palestinians from the West Bank that they found in the vicinity of a fire near Jerusalem on Wednesday, on suspicion of involvement in starting the blaze.

Dotan said that police and fire services were on high alert due to the threat of additional arson attacks.

Earlier on Thursday firefighters succeeded in gaining control of a fire just outside Jerusalem near Moshav Even Sapir.

Wednesday saw firefighters battle blazes in the same areas, as well as a fire in the eastern Carmel mountains. No injuries were reported in the fires.

Suspicion: Wave of nationalistically motivated arson fires YNET

Authorities suspect recent fires in Kiryat Tivon, Even Sapir and Beit Shemesh caused by arson; investigation launched

Ynet reporters
Latest Update: 08.09.12, 21:14 /

Coastal District Police Commander Hagai Dotan has ordered the establishment of a special team to investigate the circumstances behind the recent fires that have hit Israel in the past week.

“It is suspected we are experiencing a wave of nationalistically motivated arson fires,” he said. “There is no intelligence to support the claim but from a national perspective a sequence of arson fires in Tivon, Jerusalem and Beit Shmesh cannot be coincidental.”

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Earlier, firefighters gained control over a large fire that broke out between Kibbutz Shaar Haamakim and Kiryat Tivon.

Haifa Fire Services chief Arie Regev estimated the fire broke out as a result of arson, noting that a total of six fires were recorded in the area in the past week. “Six fires in the same place cannot be caused by negligence,” he said. Police are saying that Thursday’s blazes are part of a wave of arson attacks.

בית שעלה באש. ציוד רב נשרף (צילום: אחיה ראב”ד)

Arson or negligence? (Photo: Ahiya Raved)

Fire and Rescue Services commissioner Shahar Ayalon said there is no evidence to suggest that the recent fires were caused by arson. Nevertheless, he stated that there is suspicion of arson that warrants an investigation.

The fire reached some trees which caused several houses to catch fire. Residents and a nearby retirement home had beene evacuated. Twenty-seven crews worked to contain the flames together with dozens of Jewish National Fund and Nature and Parks Authority teams. Two aircraft assisted the extinguishing efforts.

Large police and Magen David Adom forces were also at the scene. One police officer suffered smoke inhalation but refused to be taken to hospital. Meanwhile, two larges fires also broke out near Beit Shemesh and in the Ibtin area.

“This is one of the most complex fires we’ve worked on since the Carmel Disaster,” one of the firefighters said.

The fire broke a day after a blaze that destroyed 70 dunam near the Amakim Junction. A total of eight fire crews are working to contain the flames and heavy smoke is seen from a distance.

Earlier, a fire broke out in Moshav Even Sapir near Jerusalem. Firefighters managed to contain the flames. The fire originally broke out on Wednesday.

Fire Services officials said that the fire had come close to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital causing heavy traffic in the area. Extinguishing jets working in the area were diverted to the Kiryat Tivon blaze.

Ahiya Raved and Noam (Dabul) Dvir contributed to this report,7340,L-4266730,00.html