November 2016 Israel wildfires
Fires in Haifa as seen from space on 24 November 11 2016
The November 2016 Israel wildfires are a wave of over 200 wildfires in various regions in Israel. The largest fires occurred in Zikhron Ya'akov, where houses caught on fire, and Haifa where 280,000 residents were evacuated from of the neighborhoods.
The fires came after two months of drought in the area. Regions of Jerusalem and the West Bank are also affected. Officials identify "extreme weather", including high temperatures and dry winds, for helping fires spread
Cyprus, Russia, Croatia, Italy, Turkey, Greece, and Ukraine have sent aircraft and other equipment to help fight the fires.The Home Front Command called in soldiers and rescuers to aid with the effort.
Some of the fires were allegedly caused by arsonists. The Israel Police commissioner Roni Alsheikh and the Israel Security Agency announced that the arsons are "likely nationalistically motivated" and that suspects were arrested.
Gilad Erdan, Israel’s public security minister, told Army Radio that the professional assessment was that almost half the fires were the result of arson. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attributed the fires to “natural and unnatural” causes and said that “any fire caused by arson or incitement to arson is terrorism in every sense of the word, and we will treat it as such.”
Fires in Haifa are occurring in dozens of areas and they have consumed buildings in five different locations. 60,000 residents of 11 neighborhoods were evacuated by firefighters and the search and rescue Kedem Battalion of the Home Front Command. On 17:08 (ISTׁ) it was reported that 132 people were injured including three children and a 6 month old, mainly smoke inhalation. One woman was moderately injured. 350 firefighters and 115 firefighting vehicles are operating in the city. 3 residents were detained by police forces under suspicion of arson after being spotted near one of the epicentres.
The fires in Zikhron Ya'akov started on 22 November in the northern parts of the town. The fire was brought under control after 29 hours of fighting. Some of the residents were evacuated and were allowed to return execpt for those whose houses were damaged.
The fires in Gilon started on 22 November and caused 80 residents to be evacuated. Three houses were damaged and electricity was temporarly cut. The fire was brought under control after several hours.
Thousands Flee as Wildfire Roars Through Israeli City
he Haifa blaze was the most serious in a series of fires that have erupted across the country in recent days
(Haifa, Israel) — A wildfire roared through parts of Israel’s third-largest city on Thursday, forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes as the country’s leaders raised the possibility that Arab assailants had intentionally set the blaze.
Spreading quickly due to dry, windy weather, the fire raced through Haifa’s northern neighborhoods, sending panicked residents fleeing from the area.
While there were no serious injuries, several dozen people were hospitalized for smoke inhalation. In a rare move, Israel called up hundreds of military reservists to join overstretched police and firefighters and was making use of an international fleet of firefighting aircraft sent by a slew of countries.
The Haifa blaze was the most serious in a series of fires that have erupted across the country in recent days. On a visit to the area, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said anyone implicated in setting the fires would be punished severely.
“It’s a crime for all intents and purposes and in our opinion it is terror for all intents and purposes,” he said. He said incitement to arson was also playing a role in spreading the fires.
Netanyahu did not elaborate on the identity or motives of the suspected arsonists, but Israeli officials typically use the term “terror” to refer to Arab or Palestinian militant activity.
Israel has been on edge during more than a year of Palestinian attacks, mostly stabbings, that have tapered off, but not halted, in recent months. Netanyahu has blamed Palestinian incitement for fueling those attacks.
Netanyahu’s accusations could test already brittle relations between Israel’s Jewish majority and its Arab minority, which has long suffered discrimination in Israel and says it has been slighted by rhetoric from Netanyahu and other Israeli officials in the past.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told Channel 10 TV news that eight people had been arrested and that authorities had found “flammable materials and liquids poured in certain areas,” a find that pointed to arson. He said arson was suspected in about half of the fires.
Israeli media said the Shin Bet internal security agency was helping search for perpetrators, while Erdan said “we need to be prepared for a new type of terror.”
“It’s safe to assume that whoever is setting the fires isn’t doing it only out of pyromania,” Israel’s police chief Roni Alsheich told reporters. “It’s safe to assume that if it is arson it is politically motivated.”
Ayman Odeh, the head of a joint Arab bloc of parties in Israel’s parliament and a Haifa native, appealed to Israelis to come together and abandon “politics” during the trying time.
“This is something that harms all of us. This is not a story of Arab or Jew. Whoever did this is an enemy of all of us,” he told Israeli Channel 2 TV news.
The Palestinians meanwhile offered to send firefighting teams to help combat the flames, according to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA. Yousef Nassar, the director general of the Palestinian Civil Defense, said the offer of assistance was “a humanitarian message.” The Palestinians assisted Israel during a deadly wildfire in 2010. Israel’s response to the offer was not immediately known.
The rash of fires is the worst since 2010, when Israel suffered the single deadliest wildfire in its history. That blaze burned out of control for four days, killed 42 people and was extinguished only after firefighting aircraft arrived from as far away as the United States.
Israel has strengthened its firefighting capabilities since then, buying special planes that can drop large quantities of water on affected areas. Several countries, including Russia, France, Cyprus, Turkey, Croatia, Greece and Italy were also sending assistance to battle this week’s blazes.
Residents of eight neighborhoods in the northern city of Haifa were told to evacuate their homes on Thursday afternoon, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Or Doron, a spokeswoman for the city of Haifa, said some 50,000 people had been evacuated.
Police and firefighters were deployed throughout the city, as people loaded up supermarket carts with belongings and fled their homes. Some people connected hoses together from apartment buildings to help battle the fires, while residents held cloth over their faces.
Guy Catlan, who runs a gas station in Haifa, told Channel 10 TV that workers turned the power off and were helping firefighters to prevent the flames from reaching it. “There is a very large quantity of fuel here,” he said. “It is very dangerous to the entire area, it could be a big catastrophe.”
Michal Schanin, a professor at the University of Haifa, was in the middle of a lecture when she received word that she and her 70 students would need to evacuate. She said that while the evacuation was orderly, the flood of cars fleeing the area caused a traffic jam.
“We couldn’t move. If, God forbid, there would have been fire there it would have been one huge trap,” she said.
The military said it deployed two search and rescue battalions in order to assist civilian efforts. It also called up about 500 reserve soldiers to back up the police and fire departments.
Police said the blazes started early Tuesday morning at Neve Shalom, a community outside Jerusalem where Jews and Arabs live together. Fires later erupted elsewhere near Jerusalem and in the northern Israeli area of Zichron Yaakov.
Wildfires tore across central and northern Israel on Thursday, forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee the city of Haifa, as leaders blamed arsonists for some of the blazes and branded them terrorists.
Wildfires tear across Israel, Netanyahu calls arsonists 'terrorists'
Television pictures showed a wall of flames raging through central neighborhoods of Israel's third largest city. Firefighters dowsed a petrol station with water as the blaze edged closer.
The fires have been burning in multiple locations for the past three days but intensified on Thursday, fueled by unseasonably dry weather and strong easterly winds.
"Every fire that was caused by arson, or incitement to arson, is terrorism by all accounts. And we will treat it as such," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters gathered in Haifa. "Whoever tries to burn parts of Israel will be punished for it severely."
Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan referred to "arson terrorism" and said there had been a small number of arrests, providing no other details.
On social media, some Arabs and Palestinians celebrated the fires and the hashtag #Israelisburning was trending on Twitter.
"It's likely that where it was arson, it goes in the direction of nationalistic," Police Chief Roni Alsheich told reporters, without going into further detail.
With fires burning in the forests west of Jerusalem, around Haifa, on central and northern hilltops and in parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the government sought assistance from neighboring countries to tackle the conflagration.
Greece, Cyprus, Croatia, Turkey and Russia offered help, with several aircraft already joining efforts to quell the blaze, dropping fire-retardant material to try to douse the heaviest fires and stem their spread.
Netanyahu said he had asked for a "Super Tanker" fire fighting aircraft to be sent from the United States.
The Palestinian Authority had offered assistance as well, he said.
A thick haze of smoke hung over Haifa, which rises up from the Mediterranean Sea overlooking a large port. Schools and universities were evacuated, and two nearby prisons transferred inmates to other jails, a prisons service spokesman said. Patients were moved out of a geriatric hospital.
A lack of rain combined with very dry air and strong easterly winds have spread the fires this week across the center and north of the country, as well as parts of the West Bank. Hundreds of homes have been damaged or destroyed but no deaths or serious injuries have been reported.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, the leader of the Jewish Home party which supports settlements in the West Bank where Palestinians seek statehood, said on Twitter that arsonists were disloyal to Israel, hinting that those who set the fires could not be Jewish.
Only those to whom the country does not belong are capable of burning it," he said in a tweet in Hebrew.
Haifa's mayor said he feared for the city and called on residents with water sprinklers to turn them on to help keep the flames at bay. Those leaving their homes were urged to go to sports stadiums and other safer locations.
Highway 443, which links Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as it cuts through a southern flank of the West Bank, was temporarily closed to morning rush-hour traffic as flames reached the city of Modi'in, about half way between the two conurbations.
Local weather forecasters have said the tinder-dry conditions - it has not rained in parts of Israel for months - and strong winds are set to continue for several days and they see little prospect of normal seasonal precipitation arriving.
"Meteorology is not responsible but it is conducive to the spread of these fires," said Noah Wolfson, the chief executive of weather forecasting company Meteo-Tech. "The atmosphere will remain very dry, at least until Monday or Tuesday."
(Additional reporting by Steven Scheer in Modi'in, Luke Baker and Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem; Writing by Luke Baker; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Andrew Heavens)
Bron: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-fires-idUSKBN13J0YJ?il=0 | Gewijzigd: 31 januari, 11:12 uur, door Joyce.s
Wildfires in Israel force over 80,000 people to evacuate, Netanyahu blames 'arsonist terrorism'Published time: 24 Nov, 2016 20:52
Tens of thousands of people were told to immediately evacuate Israel’s third largest city, Haifa, as wildfires encouraged by extreme wind rage through the country for the third day.Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed “arsonist terrorism” for the blaze.
More than 80,000 people were forced to leave their homes and rush from Haifa while authorities struggle to bring the fire under control. It has been spreading especially quickly due to dry weather and strong winds.
“I want to say as clearly as possible, any fire caused by arson, or by incitement to arson, is terrorism, and we will deal with it accordingly. That is my directives to the security services – we will deal with all acts of lawlessness. Anyone who tries or will try to burn parts of Israel will be punished with all severity,” Netanyahu told a press-conference in Haifa, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Netanyahu was joined by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri and Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Galant.
There are 15 active fires so far, according to the prime minister. Since Tuesday police reported over 200 fires in the region.
Suspects have been already arrested, Israeli’s police chief Roni Alsheich told reporters earlier without giving any further details.
“It’s safe to assume that whoever is setting the fires isn’t doing it only out of pyromania. It's safe to assume that if it is arson, it is politically-motivated.”
Some politicians, including Education Minister Naftali Bennett from the far-right Jewish Home party, blamed the arsons on the country’s Arab minority population.
“Only those to whom the land doesn't belong are able to burn it,” Bennett tweeted in Hebrew.
Previously AP reported that four of the arrested arsonists were Palestinians.
“We evacuated three neighborhoods and there are people who are stuck,” fire department spokesman Kayed Daher said.
“The fire is still burning and the flames are approaching a gas station.”
Fearing the repetition of a 2010 blaze that claimed the lives of 44 people, the Mediterranean port-city declared a state of emergency. There have been no reports of serious injuries, however, several dozens of people were taken to hospitals for smoke inhalation.
Since the deadly fire in 2010 Israel has upgraded its firefighting capabilities and now has special planes that drop large quantities of water on areas engulfed in flames. Russia, Cyprus, Turkey, Croatia and Greece are providing help to Israel as well.
The world’s largest firefighting aircraft, the Supertanker, is expected to be delivered from the US to help deal with the emergency.
Israel wildfires scorch more land, 60,000 evacuated in HaifaJerusalem (CNN)Wildfires raged across Israel for a third consecutive day, forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes in what officials described as an act of "arson terrorism."Ten people were detained on Friday in relation to fires, although it was not immediately clear if they were suspected of arson or negligence.Speaking to reporters, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said if the fires were deliberately lit it would amount to "terrorism," and vowed to severely punish anyone who "tries to burn parts of Israel," Reuters reported.
"Every fire that was caused by arson, or incitement to arson, is terrorism by all accounts. And we will treat it as such."
The fires began Tuesday in the northern community of Zichron Ya'akov, about 35 kilometers north of Haifa. Authorities ordered the evacuation of 60,000 people in Haifa. Fires broke out the following day in Modi'in in central Israel.
Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan confirmed a "small number of arrests" but declined to elaborate, citing the ongoing investigation, according to Reuters.
"Today it is quite clear that a good amount of the fires were caused by arson, and as the Prime Minister said there is a new phenomenon of arson terrorism."
Prisoners, 11 neighborhoods evacuated
A police spokesman told CNN that forces and firefighters are focusing their efforts on dealing with a number of fires in Haifa as 11 of the city's neighborhoods are being evacuated. Two prisons at Carmel and Damon were also evacuated, with 600 prisoners and 150 prison officers moved by police.
According to Magen David Adom, Israel's ambulance service, 35 people have been treated for light smoke inhalation across the country since the fires broke out earlier this week.
It says MDA remains on its highest alert level, with all vehicles and teams across the country on call.
Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav told reporters that the scale of the fire was "unprecedented in Haifa" and that the city had set up six centers to welcome those evacuated.
The Israel Defense Forces' Homefront Command has deployed two search-and-rescue battalions to assist civilian efforts.
Authorities have moved 60,000 residents out of the affected area.
A spokesman for the IDF confirmed that reservists have been called to assist police and fire services with resources and manpower
More than 1,500 fires reported
According to Ran Sheluf, head of the investigation unit of the Israel fire and rescue services, there have been more than 1,500 fires reported over the past week.
"This is twice the usual number," he said. "The cause of the fires is either negligence or being started deliberately."
To help battle the blazes, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested assistance from world leaders. Many have offered to help, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russia will send two giant Beriev be-200 firefighting aircraft to assist with the operation after the two leaders spoke on the telephone.
Turkey, Italy, Croatia, Greece and Cyprus are also assisting Israeli authorities.
The fires are the worst to hit Israel since 2010, when more than 40 people died.CNN's Andrew Carey reported from Jerusalem and James Masters reported from London.
| Gewijzigd: 31 januari, 11:13 uur, door Joyce.s