Jerusalem Firefighters Contain Blaze Threatening Biblical Zoo — Arson Suspected
Arson is suspected to be behind a fire that erupted on Sunday in the Ein Yael Reserve near Jerusalem’s Malha neighborhood and threatened to spread towards the nearby Biblical Zoo, Israeli news site NRG reported.
The suspicion that the fire was caused by an arson attack came as the result of an initial investigation by authorities carried out close to the time the fire broke out.
Fire investigators attached to the Fire and Rescue teams in Jerusalem located the starting point of the fire, near the western slopes of the Palestinian village of Batir. According to the investigators, the fire was started at multiple points within an area very close to the residential part of the village.
Eight firefighting teams rushed to the area, and were able to contain the spread of the flames. Two firefighting planes also joined in the effort to control the fire.
Due to the fire’s proximity to an Israeli railway route, train traffic on the Jerusalem line was also halted.
In recent years, arson has been suspected as the cause of multiple fires in the Jerusalem area. Last week, Palestinian vandals ignited fires in Jerusalem with Molotov cocktails and then ambushed and stoned firefighters who arrived at the scene to extinguish the flames.
In June last year, two large fires were ignited in the Jerusalem area, one in the Gilo neighborhood and another near Abu Ghosh.
In a 2013 interview with The Algemeiner, police and firefighter spokesmen lamented the rising prevalence of arson attacks as a form of terrorism.