A forest fire erupted Shabbos near Kibbutz Maaleh Hachamisha in the Yerushalayim region, the third fire in that area over the course of one week. The Israel Police suspects that arsonists from a nearby Palestinian village might be responsible for the series of blazes.
The fire spread quickly due the high temperatures on Saturday, and authorities feared it would reach the kibbutz. Seventeen firefighting crews took part in the operation to put out the fire.
Investigators’ initial probe reinforced suspicions of an arson. Police suspect that the blaze resulted from firebombs or fireworks thrown from the nearby Palestinian village of Qatanna.
“In the past week, around 300 acres of natural forest have gone up in smoke [in the Jerusalem and Mateh Yehuda regions],” said Reuven YitzChak, commander of the Beit Shemesh fire station. “In many cases, the fires were intentionally set with firebombs or various other various means.”