Jerusalem fire called ´spontaneous terrorism´ (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Moran Azulay Published: 06.27.12, 17:46)
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Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch says he suspects
arson in at least some of the recent spate of fires in and around the
capital; Ministry releases alarming numbers on the State of Israel´s
fire service and firefighting equipment
A day after a giant fire broke out in Motza, Internal Security
Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said Wednesday that he was not ruling
out the possibility that the Motza blaze had been set intentionally
and from nationalist motives.
"We believe, due to how close the sites and time line are, that this
was arson. It´s being investigated," he told the Knesset.
Aharonovitch discussed the many fires in and around Jerusalem in
recent weeks. "There have been dozens, even hundreds of incidents in
Jerusalem and people have even been arrested, some suspected of
nationalist motives," he said.
"This is most serious. I hope that those who set yesterday´s fire
will be indicted, if in fact it was arson."
The minister characterized the fires as "spontaneous terrorism."
"You don´t need an organization to set fire to a forest, and
therefore every incident must be investigated. There could also be
someone who is putting these things together, but that´s an issue
that the Jerusalem District Police are investigating."
Motza residents who were told to evacuate their homes on Tuesday
looked around, amazed, at the charred surroundings. Yehudit
said: "I´m just amazed – I can´t believe it. My heart hurts.
Everything here is so precious to us. I had a feeling that we´d lost
everything, but (our) great luck is that the house itself wasn´t
damaged and the courtyard can be salvaged."
Yehudit´s son, Eliyahu, who was home at the time of the fire, recalls
that "the fire almost reached the courtyard, but stopped at the gate.
I saw the flames. The fire just surrounded the house on every side,
except for the part next to the road. When the fire broke out,
special forces came and took me and other people who rent apartments
here out to the main highway."
Eliyahu said that everything the family had stored in a shed had been
destroyed, including beehives.
Jerusalem firefighters were kept busy on Wednesday, as well. Three
squads were scrambled to the site of a brush fire in an open lot on
Granot Street near Nayot Junction. The fire spread toward a caravan
and one person was lightly injured from smoke inhalation and taken to
Shaare Zedek Medical Center for treatment.
Earlier Wednesday, two firefighting squads extinguished a brush fire
that broke out near a building in the village of Tzur Bahar in
southeast Jerusalem. One woman was lightly injured from smoke
Meanwhile, as the summer heats up in more ways than one, the Internal
Security Ministry released on Wednesday alarming data about the state
of the Fire and Rescue Service that indicated that a year and a half
after the Carmel disaster, the service is far from functioning as it
According to the numbers, 70 fire trucks dating from the 70s and 80s
are still in service, as well as 11 from the early 1990s. Moreover,
the report said, only 301 fire trucks are in service in Israel, while
standards stipulate 382.
Aside from the outdated equipment, the report cited that the average
response time for firefighters in Israel was 17 minutes, compared to
7-10 minutes elsewhere. And when the squad does arrive, it is
comprised of only two firefighters, compared to five in the first
response squad in other countries.
The ministry outlined a plan calling to hire 300-400 new
firefighters, establish 10-15 new fire stations or "launching sites,"
found a training center, acquire 25-35 new fire trucks, and expand
the volunteer fire service to 10,000 participants. Noam "Dabul" Dvir
contributed to this report (Copyright 2012 © Yedioth Internet
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