Is­rael hopes to have wild­fire un­der con­trol Sun­day

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

JERUSALEM: Is­raeli fire­fight­ers could bring a deadly wild­fire sweep­ing through north­ern wood­lands since last week un­der con­trol Sun­day, a fire ser­vice spokesman said.

Two teenage broth­ers were ar­rested Satur­day on sus­pi­cion they caused the blaze, which has killed 41 peo­ple, through neg­li­gence. The mi­nors were brought be­fore a court Sun­day for an ex­ten­sion of their de­ten­tion, po­lice spokesman Micky Rosen­feld said.

Rosen­feld said he could not con­firm Is­raeli me­dia re­ports that the boys in­ad­ver­tently sparked the blaze with a bon­fire and a wa­ter pipe. Their aunt, iden­ti­fied only as Abir in an Army Ra­dio in­ter­view, de­nied they were re­spon­si­ble for the worst fire in Is­rael's his­tory. The blaze has been tear­ing through the Carmel for­est near Is­rael's third-largest city, Haifa, since Thurs­day. It has caught the coun­try - which prides it­self on its tech­no­log­i­cal prow­ess, abil­ity to im­pro­vise and res­cue ex­per­tise - woe­fully un­pre­pared. PM Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu has ap­pealed to the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity for help, and coun­tries in the im­me­di­ate re­gion and as far afield as Rus­sia and the U.S. have dis­patched planes, fire­fight­ers and ma­te­ri­als to help bat­tle the blaze. Pales­tinian fire trucks mo­bi­lized for the ef­fort passed through Is­rael's West Bank sep­a­ra­tion bar­rier on Sun­day and Is­rael Ra­dio re­ported that Aus­tralia would also send an aerial fire­fight­ing team and fire­fight­ing chem­i­cals. "The gen­eral pic­ture is bet­ter, more op­ti­mistic," fire­fight­ers' spokesman Boaz Rakia told a news con­fer­ence Sun­day. While it will take days to ex­tin­guish the fire com­pletely, he said he hoped it might be brought un­der con­trol Sun­day. But though this fire might be sub­sid­ing, crit­ics won­dered what Is­rael's home front weak­ness might mean for the coun­try's abil­ity to keep its en­e­mies at bay. -Ap

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