The massive fire that raced through the wadi at the entrance to Jerusalem,
burning more than 100 dunams, was the result of both arson and negligence,
police announced on Thursday.
The fire that raged next to Ma’aleh
Hahamisha was caused by arson, while the fire in the wadi next to Mevaseret Zion
was the result of negligence such as a dropped cigarette butt or trash
Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said the police do
not have any suspects yet in the arson but they are investigating a number of
people who have been involved with arson.
Also on Thursday, two Arab
teenagers from Isawiya were arrested in connection with a fire at the Oferit
Army base next to the east Jerusalem neighborhood.
Police suspect the two
boys, aged 17 and 15, set a number of fires in the wadi and open areas in
between their neighborhood and the Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus
One of the teenagers admitted to setting the fire at Oferit and
implicated his friend.
A dozen soldiers suffered from smoke inhalation
during the fire that broke out on June 17 at the base. Police believe the two
youths threw firecrackers at the base with the intention of starting fires. The
suspects were remanded at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Thursday and their
detention was extended until Sunday as the investigation
Jerusalem firefighters have dealt with a large wave of arson
in the last few months.
Not counting this week, there have been 1,058
incidents of fires in open areas in the past six weeks.
determined that arson was responsible for at least 70 percent of those
incidents. On average there are 4,000 incidents a year of fires in open areas
and forests in the Jerusalem district.
Nine people, both Jews and Arabs,
have been arrested in connection with setting fires in open areas in the past