World Jewish News
Benjamin Netanyahu: Israel is facing a wave of terror in the form of arsonists
Four planes and 49 staff members have arrived from Cyprus and Greece to aid in fighting the fire that continues to rage across Israel sincer Tuesday with new areas threatened by flames as other blazes have come under control.
Channel 2 reported that some 60,000 residents have been evacuated from the Haifa area in light of fires in the northern port city, according to police estimates as of Thursday afternoon.
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Israel Police announced Thursday afternoon that they have detained a number of suspects on suspicion of arson.
Israel Police chief Roni Alsheich said some of the fires were set by arsonists, “presumably with nationalist motives,” but most were not. He said some suspects were in custody. Top Arab MK Ayman Odeh called the arsonists “enemies of us all.”
Greece, Russia, Cyprus and Turkey were among the nations that sent firefighting planes and other equipment to help fight the fires.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a press conference Thursday that Israel is facing a wave of terror in the form of arsonists setting much of the country ablaze.
"Every fire caused by arson, or incitement to commit arson, is terrorism for all intents and purposes, and we will bring them to justice," he said.
Speaking after a meeting to update leaders on the efforts being made against the hundreds of fires around the country, Netanyahu thanked the many forces working around the clock to save lives, and reserved special mention to foreign leaders, who have sent planes and firefighters to help in the efforts.
"Firefighting planes from Israel and around the world are the critical component (in fighting the fires). That's why we have built the fire air squadron, and it is doing an excellent job. Countries are joining hands (but) we need more help from abroad. Russia, Greece, Italy Cyprus, Croatia and Turkey have already answered the call. By midnight two additional planes Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent will be here."