Police Arrest Two Brothers Suspected of Starting Carmel Wildfire

Police suspect that the two 16-year-olds from Isfiya lit a fire near their home which ultimately spread and set the entire Carmel ablaze.

Police forces arrested Saturday two brothers from the Druze village of Isfiya who are suspected of being responsible for the act of negligence which started the massive fire that was still raging in the Carmel in northern Israel.

The two brothers, 16, were taken for investigation by Central Police Unit detectives on Saturday, who believe the brothers lit a fire near their home in the western part of Isfiya which spread and ultimately set the entire Carmel ablaze.

Carmel fire plane - AP - 3.12.2010

Earlier Saturday, Police Commissioner David Cohen already said that the fire was caused by negligence, and not arson, during a situation assessment at the Israel Police northern headquarters.

The fire in the Carmel has been raging since Thursday, with Israeli and foreign fire-fighters still struggling to contain the flames, which have claimed the lives of 42 people and devastated thousands of acres of land. Thousands of people have also been evacuated from their homes.

The assumption of negligence is in line with the assessment of the police investigators from the Central Region, who said Friday that the fire had not been set deliberately. Initial investigations Thursday, shortly after the blaze started, also led to the conclusion that the fire was the result of carelessness and not malicious action.