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June 26, 2012 9:49 am

Massive Fires Engulf Jerusalem Following 200 Arson Attacks in Past 2 Weeks

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Smoke rises from fire in Israel. Photo: wiki commons.

Israeli firefighters have their hands full on Tuesday, dealing with two massive fires near Jerusalem.

35 teams have joined firefighting aircraft to help put out the blazes, which broke out nearly simultaneously around noon time in Israel.  According to a spokesman for the Jerusalem Fire Department, the scale of the flames are significant and residents in the area have been asked to evacuate.

“This is a very big fire, with flames at a height of five to ten meters,” the spokesman told Israel’s Channel 2 online, “and a number of homes were evacuated for security reasons.”

The source of the fires has not been confirmed by local authorities.  In previous weeks however, the Jerusalem area has seen a rash of arson attempts, including nearly 200 attacks in the past 2 weeks.

The CEO of a local hotel told Israel’s Channel 2 Online that guests were largely unaffected but there were contingency plans in case the situation worsened.

“There is no panic, except for one conference which we had to evacuate to another hall. We have a team of vehicles on standby for the guests,  in case you can only see smoke from the windows.”

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