Fires Breakout Across Israel

Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Major fires broke out in forested areas west of Jerusalem on Wednesday afternoon, prompting the Israel Fire and Rescue Services to evacuate dozens of residents in the area. Later in the afternoon, several more fires broke out in the northern West Bank.

No lightning has been reported in area. Investigators are looking into the possibility of arson

According to the fire services, the Jerusalem-area fire broke out on Mount Haruah in the Jerusalem hills, near the Neve Ilan moshav.

“The fire is closing in on homes in Abu Ghosh and Yad Hashmona,” the fire authority said. “Many firefighting forces are working alongside four firefighting planes in order to prevent the fire from spreading to those homes.”

Later in the afternoon, 29 teams of firefighters and 10 planes joined the effort to extinguish the massive blaze. Firefighting forces from other areas of Israel were also called in to assist in tackling the flames.

Roads and highways in the area have been shut, including a portion of Route 1, the main highway connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

At 2 p.m., the Israel Railways announced that it was halting trains on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv line due to the fire.

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