A number of Arab youth are suspected of throwing lit firecrackers at an army
base outside of Jerusalem on Sunday afternoon, starting a large forest fire. Ten
soldiers at the Oferit Army base in Jerusalem next to Mount Scopus were lightly
wounded by smoke inhalation and two were taken to the Hadassah University
Medical Center in Mount Scopus for treatment.
At the same time, three
fire crews battled another forest fire, also believed to be an arson attack, in
the Peace Forest next to the Armon Hanetziv neighborhood of south
Firefighters have dealt with a wave of arson attacks in the
past two weeks concentrated in the forests around southeast Jerusalem, including
1,789 incidences of fires in open areas. In more than 100 cases, investigators
definitively determined arson to be the cause of the fire. Sometimes multiple
fires are considered part of the same investigation.
spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said he doubted the Oferit army base fire was
connected to the simultaneous fire next to the Haas Promenade in Armon Hanetziv.
He cited the distance between the two sites, as well as the fact that southeast
Jerusalem seems to be an ongoing problem rather than just a one-time
Last week, police arrested two Jewish teenagers for setting fires
in the open areas around southeast Jerusalem neighborhoods. The arsons
have not abated since the teenagers’ arrests.
Most of the blazes are
around the Arnona, Armon Hanetziv, Jebl Mukaber and Sur Bahir neighborhoods.
Jerusalem Fire and Rescue spokesman Asaf Abras said the fires were so frequent
that firefighters have often been called back to the same area less than 15
minutes later to deal with another outbreak.