Army flares spark large fire near West Bank settlement

Over a dozen families evacuated from their homes as rescue services battle blaze in Negohot, in the Hebron Hills

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

The IDF and firefighters struggled to put out a blaze that broke out near the Negohot settlement in the Hebron Hills Sunday morning, the army said.

The fire appeared to have been started in the early hours of Sunday morning by flares fired by army troops, who were investigating a suspicion that the settlement had been infiltrated.

As a precaution, 13 families from the community were evacuated from their homes. A warehouse and a metal workshop were damaged by the flames, as was some agricultural land. There were no reports on injuries or damage to residential buildings.

Some 24 firefighters and volunteers backed by eight fire trucks and fire-fighting aircraft worked to tackle the blaze, which started at around 2 a.m.

Three fire trucks from the Palestinian Authority were also operating in the area, Channel 2 reported.

Ultimately, the fire was put out, and the soldiers did not find any evidence that someone had broken into Negohot, an army spokesperson said.

The full details of the incident are still being investigated.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, three Palestinians were arrested overnight Saturday on suspicion of involvement in “popular terrorism.”

Last month, the army caused a wildfire that consumed around 37 acres of woodland and fields in southern Israel after it blew up old munitions, some of which contained phosphorus.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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