Rescue worker looks at Jerusalem fire 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Firefighters Tuesday afternoon took control of a number of blazes that were raging in the forest around Jerusalem, with the largest fire near the suburb of Motza, Jerusalem police said.
The Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway was closed to traffic for a number of hours as fire and rescue services scrambled to control the blaze.
Police evacuated the town of Ma'aleh Hachamisha, including the hotel, and Magen David Adom raised its alert level to the highest possible level. A total of 23 fire crews were battling the blaze from Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh, with reinforcements coming from central Israel. Some homes in Motza were evacuated and the fire was moving in the direction of Mevasseret Zion.
Israel's entire fleet of firefighting planes were being used to battle the blaze, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in a briefing on the matter.
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