Firefighters outside Jerusalem 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
A large fire erupted in the valley between Har Gilo and southern Jerusalem on
Saturday afternoon, burning more than 5 hectares (12 acres) of land.
Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria District firefighting crews responded, as well
as a fire truck from the Palestinian Authority. Firefighters also used two
firefighting planes and a police helicopter that provided an picture of the
The blaze raced down the slope from Har Gilo and
threatened to expand in a number of directions. It took firefighters more than
two hours to gain control of the flames. No one was injured though the fire
damaged several olive groves.
Firefighters opened an investigation into
Jerusalem firefighters have dealt with a large wave of
arson in the past few months. There were 1,058 incidents of fires in open areas
over six weeks in May and June. Firefighters have determined that at least 70
percent of those incidents were arson. There are about 4,000 fire incidents in
open areas and forests in the Jerusalem district during an average
Police have arrested 12 youths, both Arab and Jewish, in connection
with the arson.