Mass Destruction of Israeli Community Hit by Suspected Arson Revealed in Aerial Footage, as Cross-Country Blazes Come Under Control
As firefighters battled final blazes in the West Bank settlement of Halamish on Sunday, aerial footage revealed a picture of mass destruction at the scene, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.
The video shows remains of burnt furniture, seen through collapsed rooftops, following a long night of attempts to extinguish every last bit of fire that broke out in the Jewish community, also known as Neveh Tzuf, whose hundreds of residents had to be evacuated.
So far, according to the report, 15 houses were completely burned down and another 25 suffered major damage. Four people, including two firefighters, were injured and evacuated for medical treatment.
However, said Judea and Samaria Police District Commander Superintendent Moshe Bareket, “Due to the actions of dedicated emergency service personnel, no lives were lost.”
Assaf Abers, the spokesman for Jerusalem Fire Services, said he had never seen anything like it in his 23 years in the profession, not even the 2010 Carmel disaster.
“It was hard to see — houses collapsed and burning in a domino effect,” he said. “My heart goes out to the residents.”
According to the report, two people were arrested on suspicion of arson, but were released after interrogation.
As The Algemeiner reported on Thursday, Israeli news outlets were saying that arson was behind at least 60 percent of the fires that were spreading across the country for the third day in a row.
Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh said that though the first fire, which ignited on Tuesday, may have been caused by negligent behavior — coupled with the hot, dry and windy weather — there appeared to be some kind of concerted “nationalistically motivated” effort to keep the blazes going.
Meanwhile, as countries around the world dispatched firefighting aircraft to the Jewish state to help it combat the fires, The Algemeiner reported that Palestinians and Arabs across the Middle East rejoiced on social media, using the hashtag #IsraellsBurning.
Watch footage of the destruction of Halamish below: