Jerusalem battles all-day arson attacks (JERUSALEM POST) By MELANIE LIDMAN 06/25/12)
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Jerusalem fire crews worked nonstop on Sunday, fighting a number of
large fires, many of which they believe were arson attacks.
The largest forest fire on Sunday was near the Jerusalem suburbs of
Ora and Aminadav, which drew nine fire crews from Jerusalem and Beit
Shemesh. Police evacuated five homes in Aminadav and there was damage
to a storage unit, but no injuries.
Fire and Rescue Services spokesman Asaf Abras said firefighters were
able to control the fire within a few hours because they immediately
decided to bring in firefighting planes. Abras said firefighters are
not sure whether the blaze was intentionally set.
Around 7:30 a.m. on Sunday five fire crews responded to heavy smoke
coming from the wadi next to the American Consulate in the Arnona
neighborhood. Later on Sunday afternoon, four crews responded to a
blaze next to Highway 9 near the French Hill neighborhood. While they
were dealing with that fire, they received reports of six small fires
in the wadi next to the Hebrew University.
Abras said the fires next to the consulate and the
university “followed the same pattern of arson that we’ve seen” in
the past few weeks.
Jerusalem has been experiencing a wave of arson attacks in open
areas, originally concentrated around Arnona in southeast Jerusalem.
Recently it has moved to the forests in northeast Jerusalem as well.
According to Abras, in the past two weeks there have been more than
200 fires in open areas that firefighters consider arson. There have
been more than 2,000 arson attacks in the past month-and-a-half.
In an average year, Jerusalem fire and rescue workers respond to
8,000 fire-related incidents, of which 4,000 are fires in open areas,
fields or forests.
Jerusalem police arrested two Jewish teenagers from southeast
Jerusalem two weeks ago in connection with the arson attacks, but the
fires have continued unabated, leading police to believe there could
be a larger group involved.
Each fire crew usually uses about 3,000 liters of water per fire,
Abras said. Arson attacks this summer are said to be costing the Fire
and Rescue Services astronomical amounts. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem
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