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Dublin: 18 °C Thursday 13 August, 2020
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Israel close to tackling forest fires, say firefighters

Israel’s prime minister is refusing any further foreign firefighting assistance as blaze being brought under control.

A firefighter takes a break as he tackles a blaze near Haifa, northern Israel.
A firefighter takes a break as he tackles a blaze near Haifa, northern Israel.
Image: Tara Todras-Whitehill/AP/Press Association Images

ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu has blocked any more foreign fire crews arriving in Israel as firefighters believe they are close to dousing the deadly fires which have killed at least 40 people in the north.

The forest fires came as Israel, which has no firefighting aircraft of its own, suffered the driest November in 60 years.

Several countries had offered firefighting assistance, including Turkey, Russia and Spain.

The US supplied a Boeing 747 supertanker to help fight the blaze. Haaretz reports that the US plane has carried out two runs already, dropping some 40 tons of extinguishing material. The plane is able to operate at night, which Netanyahu said was a great advantage, the AFP reports.

The Jerusalem Post reports that two brothers, aged 14 and 16, who are suspected of starting the fires have been detained. Their father said the teenagers are innocent, claiming one had been asleep and the other at school when the blaze broke out.

Police say they believe the fires in the Carmel region were started by negligence and said their investigation is at a preliminary stage. However, police said that some of the sporadic fires which are separate to the main Carmel blaze, may have been started by arsonists.

Forty-one people are believed to have been killed and 17,000 evacuated from their homes as a result of the fires.

Israel close to tackling forest fires, say firefighters
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