Fires break out in Jordan Valley, arson suspected

Right-wing outlet 0404 claimed IDF spotters identified several Palestinians setting fires across the hill.

A fire near the settlement of Migdal Oz in Gush Etzion (photo credit: ISRAEL FIRE AND RESUCE SERVICES)
A fire near the settlement of Migdal Oz in Gush Etzion
(photo credit: ISRAEL FIRE AND RESUCE SERVICES)
Several fires broke out near the Palestinian village of Beit Furik near the settlement of Itamar in the Jordan Valley, the Israel Fire and Rescue Services (IFRS) reported Friday afternoon.
The blaze was reportedly several hundred meters long and reached a distance of 300 meters (980 feet) from the settlement's built-up area as firefighters and volunteers from the Samaria District Station tried to put out the fire.
"Six firefighter teams, together with volunteers from the Samaria District Station, battled a blaze stretching out 700 meters (2300 feet) near the settlement," deputy shift commander Rodi Esteban said. 
According to the IFRS, the blaze was fought jointly by the Samaria station with cross-district support from northern firefighting teams. Four planes from IFRS' Elad Aerial Firefighting Squadron also fought the flames.
No victims or damage have been reported, according to the IFRS. Fires also reportedly broke out near the settlement of Migdal Oz in Gush Etzion.
Right-wing outlet 0404 claimed IDF spotters identified several Palestinians setting fires across the hill near the settlement, fleeing back to the nearby villages.
Left-wing NGOs and the anti-extremism Tag Meir organization claimed price tag and arson attacks have been taking place in the area over the last week.
On Thursday, rocks and paint bottles were thrown at Border Police officers stationed in the settlement of Yitzhar south of Nablus.
Arson attacks have also been taking place in southern Israel, as incendiary balloons launched from the Gaza Strip caused fires in the Gaza border communities. IAF aircraft struck Hamas posts in the strip earlier this week in response to the launches.
"The IDF takes all terrorist activity against Israeli territory very seriously and will continue taking all necessary measures against attempts to harm Israeli citizens," the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said.
"The terrorist organization Hamas bears responsibility for what is happening in the Gaza Strip and out of it," the IDF continued, saying Hamas "will face the consequences of terrorist acts against Israelis."
Some 12 fires have broken out in the Gaza border communities throughout the day, the Jewish National Fund said Friday evening. According to the JNF, some 200 dunams (nearly 50 acres) of the wooded area near Gaza has been burnt.
Earlier this week, Israel closed the Kerem Shalom crossing on the southern Gaza Strip, stopping all fuel import. Running out of fuel, Gaza will have several hours of electricity a day.
Meeting with municipal leaders in the Gaza border communities, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi said he believes the balloon launches would end in the coming days due to action taken by the IDF.