Fire forces evacuation of homes in West Bank settlement; arson suspected

Another wildfire rages outside nearby illegal outpost; no injuries reported; authorities investigating whether blazes were deliberately set by Palestinians

A fire near the West Bank settlement of Migdalim on July 4, 2021. (Israel Firefighting Services)
A fire near the West Bank settlement of Migdalim on July 4, 2021. (Israel Firefighting Services)

A fire broke out on Sunday near the West Bank settlement of Migdalim, forcing the evacuation of some homes, according to the Fire and Rescue Service.

Authorities suspect the fire was deliberately set by Palestinians, according to radio reports.

According to the firefighting service, the fire broke out at three locations near the settlement, including one that caused the evacuation of nearby homes.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Another fire also spread near the illegal West Bank outpost of Esh Kodesh several miles away, near the settlement of Shilo.

That wildfire was believed to have been started by Palestinians rioting nearby, the fire service said. Some residents were leaving their homes as a precaution.

The latest blazes followed a weekend of wildfires in southern and northern Israel, including some sparked by incendiary arson balloons sent from Gaza and others whose source is unknown.

A fire rages near the West Bank outpost of Esh Kodesh on July 4, 2021 (Fire and Rescue Service)

The incendiary balloons launched from Gaza Thursday sparked four fires near Israeli towns along the southern border, breaking more than two weeks of quiet since the last wave of arson attacks. Israel retaliated with airstrikes on the Strip.

Multiple brush fires blazed Saturday in northern Israel, causing visitors of a national park and dozens of residents of a separate town to evacuate. One of the blazes was near the Gan HaShlosha (Sakhne) national park. Seven people suffering from smoke inhalation were treated by Magen David Adom medics and were taken to the nearby Emek Medical Center in Afula.

Palestinian protesters gather with torches during a demonstration against the Israeli settlers’ outpost of Eviatar, in the town of Beita, near the West Bank city of Nablus, on July 3, 2021. (JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP)

Police forces evacuated the rest of the site’s visitors as the flames continued to spread. Firefighters involved with the efforts told The Times of Israel the fire near the national park was brought under control after an hour of battling the blaze. Nine vehicles near the site were damaged.

In a separate fire, police evacuated some 50 homes near the Arab town of Rameh, just east of Karmiel, and closed roads in the area. The evacuated homes were those closest to the fire, according to authorities.

There were no reports of injuries.

It was not immediately clear what caused either of the blazes.

Separately on Sunday, Israel dispatched firefighting planes to nearby Cyprus, which is experiencing a major wildfire that has killed at least four people.

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