Israeli officials suspect that at least some of the wildfires raging across the country on Tuesday and Wednesday were set intentionally by pro-Palestinian nationalists.
As multiple brush fires erupted and were quickly spread by strong winds and unseasonably dry weather, thousands of Israelis had to be evacuated from their homes in both the northern and central parts of the country.
In the northern town of Zichron Yaakov, firefighters were unable to prevent one blaze from entering the community and destroying a number of homes and numerous parked vehicles.
So severe was the situation that Israel strongly considered exercising civil emergency aid treaties with Greece and Croatia, which would oblige both nations to send firefighters and aircraft to help battle the inferno.
“When you have simultaneous fires raging you can’t rule out the possibility of arson. All leads are being pursued, but our first priority is to extinguish the fire. The extreme weather is making it difficult, and we are preparing for an intense couple of days,” Fire and Rescue Services Coastal District Commander Amos Yaakov told Israel Hayom.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan also noted on Twitter the fact that so many fires had started all at once, and said the possibility of arson would be vigorously investigated.
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