Israeli Wild Fires Force Thousands to Flee Haifa

By Christopher BrodskyRabat – Wildfires have forced tens of thousands of Israelis to flee from their homes in the northern city of Haifa, Al Jazeera reported early Friday morning.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned anyone found responsible for the fires would be treated as terrorists. “We are facing arsonist terror. In front of arsonist terror we are also facing incitement and also arson. For us they are the same. And we will bring our full legal force to get those responsible,” he was reporting as saying.The region has experienced an extended drought as well as strong winds, fueling the spread of the fires.Local authorities estimate over 80,000 people have been evacuated from the city thus far, with several houses destroyed beyond repair.The main highway between Haifa and Tel Aviv was also reportedly closed on Thursday as firefighters and responders tried to put out the blaze.Al Jazeera noted homes in the West Bank, and neighborhoods surrounding Jerusalem, have also been affected by the fires.Four Israeli Palestinians were arrested as suspects involved in starting the fires, though they have since been released because of a lack of evidence.“At the moment we are investigating how the fires began. We strongly believe that the fires could have been started by individuals who fled the scenes,” mentioned Israeli police spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld.

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