Fires burn in the horizon as fire fighters battle to control a fire that broke out in the Israeli town of Nataf, on November 25, 2016. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel’s Wildfires Brought Under Control at Great Cost

Wildfires ravaging Israel’s northern forests and Jerusalem hills were finally brought under control after a massive five-day effort by fire fighters from several countries. Calling the fires a huge act of eco-terrorism, authorities have begun making arrests including of those who used social media to “incite to arson.” Joint security teams have made about twenty arrests of Palestinians, but no details about their alleged crimes of all but ten of them have been released so far. At the peak of the effort, some 2,500 firefighters and soldiers were battling the many blazes that destroyed more than 500 homes and scorched more than 5,000 acres of land. Two main areas of the country were engulfed by flames: in the north, the port city of Haifa and its environs and in the country’s midsection, areas surrounding Jerusalem. In the West Bank, firefighters battling to save the Israeli community of Nataf were assisted by Palestinian firefighters sent to help by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu telephoned Abbas to thank him for the aid.

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