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Wildfires spread thru central Israel. Multiple evacuations, heavy damage

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 2:03
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DEBKAfile was founded by a team of journalists in June 2000 as an independent Internet Web site, providing an intelligence and security news service. November 23, 2016, 10:51 AM (IDT)

Wildfires have spread across half a dozen locations in central Israel for the second day, caused or rekindled by high winds and exceptionally dry weather. Zichron Yaacov south of Haifa is the worst hit. Complete neighborhoods were burned to the ground by woodland fires, forcing the evacuation of other parts of the small hilltop town. Dolev, 6km north of Ramallah, was also evacuated as the flames began to lick their homes. Surveillance video cameras showed that the Dolev fire was set deliberately by arson. Wednesday morning, the community of Nataf west of Jerusalem was told to leave their homes. In the Galilee and northern Israel, firefighters extinguished thirteen brush fires Tuesday overnight.

Dozens of firefighting teams are battling the flames which are constantly reignited by raging winds, while overhead a fleet of light planes spreads fire retardants. The IDF Home Front has called up reservists for emergency duty. The current inclement weather conditions are forecast for the rest of the week.

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