Police detain several in Haifa for looting evacuated homes
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Police detain several in Haifa for looting evacuated homes

Up to 75,000 evacuated their neighborhoods amid wave of fires; most residents still can’t return home

Israeli security and firefighters seen during a large fire in Haifa on November 24, 2016. (Yaakov Cohen/Flash90)
Israeli security and firefighters seen during a large fire in Haifa on November 24, 2016. (Yaakov Cohen/Flash90)

Several people have been arrested for trying to loot homes that had been evacuated by Haifa residents fleeing the fires, police officials said Friday morning.

“During the night we were busy preventing looting and we caught a few people who were trying,” Zohar Dvir a senior police officer told the Ynet news site.

As many as 75,000 people were evacuated from their homes in Haifa on Thursday as massive fires spread through the northern port city. Some 700 homes were damaged and 37 destroyed. Most residents were not allowed to return as of Friday morning, but were likely to be allowed back later in the day.

“Right now the effort is to return as many people as possible back to their normal lives before the weekend,” Dvir said. “To make sure as many as possible can return home and so that those who can’t will receive aid from welfare and city officials.”

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon visited the stricken city and authorized officials to hand out cash advances to those who were left homeless and without money.

“About places to sleep, I told the mayor and other officials across the country, don’t look at the money and the bureaucracy, just work. Now we have to find solutions for the residents,” the Walla news site quoted him as saying.

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