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June 9, 2021 11:28 am

Wildfires Blaze Near Jerusalem, Disrupting Travel and Threatening Homes

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avatar by i24 News

Fires in Northern and Southern California continue to be fueled by dry conditions and strong winds almost a week after they began, Oct. 30, 2019. Photo: YouTube.

i24 News – Firefighters battled wildfires raging to the west of Jerusalem throughout Wednesday, with 11 aircraft and 29 response teams deployed.

At the time of publication, the fires are ongoing, with the blaze approaching homes in Yad HaShmona and Abu Gosh, and residents evacuated from the kibbutz of Ma’ale HaHamisha.

The blaze is understood to have started in two separate locations, near the towns of Neve Ilan and Abu Gosh, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Disruptions from the ongoing incident have forced the closure of a number of roads and highway interchanges, and halted travel on the main rail line between Jerusalem and Ben Gurion Airport, the Post reported.

The fire spread widely beyond its initial starting point after only 30 minutes, Efrat Shelef-Tobol, deputy director-general of the Yad HaShmona hotel, told Kan news.

In recent days a number of wildfires have occurred around the country, a seasonal danger in Israel.

In 2019 wildfires in Israel were so severe that support was sent from overseas, with aircraft and rescue teams sent from Egypt, Cyprus, Italy, Greece, and Croatia.

Fires were reported in the vicinity of Jerusalem, in the south and north of the country, as well as in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc in the West Bank, the Post reported.

Shortly before the time of publication, the Israeli police announced that they were reopening Route 1, the main Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway, which was closed due to the fires, the Times of Israel stated.

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