Israel arrests 24 over wildfires

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Jerusalem, Nov 30 (IANS) Israeli authorities have arrested 24 people suspected of being linked to the wildfires that raged through the country, police said on Wednesday.

Micky Rosenfeld said there were currently 24 people in custody, none of them Jewish, suspected of being directly or indirectly linked to the fires, which were started deliberately, EFE news reported.

He said the interior ministry would decide whether the fires were acts of terror once the investigation was over.

Last weekend, when the fires intensified, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the flames were deliberate and that Israel was facing a wave of incendiary terrorism.

According to the police, another two were arrested on Wednesday morning near Jerusalem while they tried to start a fire with wood and tires.

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Both suspects were 16 year old and being interrogated before transferred to a court.

The fires particularly affected residents of Jerusalem and the northern city of Haifa, where tens of thousands were forced to evacuate.

Another blaze in Nataf, in the Jerusalem hills, burned down dozens of homes.

The intensity of the flames forced Israel to request international help from countries including Turkey, Croatia, Russia, Italy, Cyprus and Greece, who all sent aerial firefighting forces.



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