Police Suspects Arsonists to Blame for Jerusalem-area Brush Fire

Fires rage in regions across Israel due to continued summer heat-wave; residents evacuated, no casualties reported.

Arsonists may be to blame for a giant brush fire that raged near the Jerusalem suburb of Beit Shemesh on Tuesday, according to Israel Police.

A number of brush fires raged spread across various region in Israel over the course of the day, as the summer heat wave continued. The largest fires, in the woods beside the Beit Shemesh-area towns of Tirosh and Gefen, were being tended by some 13 firefighting squads with Israel Defense Forces troops and helicopters on hand for assistance.

Brush fire
Yaron Kaminsky

It was initially assumed that the cause of those fires was natural, but police later said it seemed as though the brush had been torched. Residents of the area were evacuated, but no casualties were reported.

Large firefighting teams were also attempting to put out the fire near the central city of Yehud, as the flames threatened to spread toward Ben Gurion International Airport.

Further were deployed to tend to a fire raging in the Carmel Park and in the Carmiel, in the north. A few firefighters suffered smoke inhalation while trying to snuff the flames near Beit Shean.