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Police: Wave Of Arson Hits Israel

| by Oren Peleg

The Middle Eastern nation of Israel has been engulfed in flames for the third consecutive day on Nov. 24, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is calling the wave of fires a coordinated act of terrorism.

"Every fire that was the result of arson or incitement to arson is terror in every way and we'll treat it as such,” Netanyahu stated, reports Haaretz. “Anyone who tries to burn parts of the State of Israel will be severely punished."

Gilad Erdan, Israeli minister of public security, weighed in on the cause of the fires, stating: "It's already pretty clear that some of the fires are the result of arson. As the prime minister said, this is terror by arsonists."

Erdan added that several arrests have already been made, but "at the moment the police doesn't have any interest in divulging further information."

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At least 220 fires have blazed across the country since Nov. 22, according to Jerusalem Online.

In Haifa, the main city in northern Israel, 280,000 people, or a quarter of the city's population, have been told to evacuate, The New York Times reports.

Much of the city is built on Mount Carmel, which has been devoured by the wildfires.

“As soon as they tell me where to go, I will leave,” Noy Parati, a student at the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, said. “Everyone is trying to escape.”

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The first fire in this wave of fires started in the forest outside the village of Neve Shalom, also known as Oasis of Peace -- an Arab-Jewish cooperative located half-way between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

But as the fires spread throughout the country and into Arab villages and the West Bank, some Palestinians are taking to social media to celebrate the wide-spread disaster.

As one Palestinian wrote on Facebook, “Enjoy the burning of your homes, you Zionists."

Sources: Jerusalem Online, The New York Times, Haaretz / Photo Credit: Talucho/FLASH90 via Breaking Israel News

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