Wildfires rage across Israel for a fourth straight day after a conflagration broke out in the northwestern city of Haifa, prompting tens of thousands of evacuations.
The blazes billowed in many locations throughout the Israeli-occupied territories on Friday. The fire in Haifa, the hardest hit city, has forced some 80,000 people to flee.
The fires are also still burning in the forests west of Jerusalem al-Quds, on central and northern hilltops and in parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The Haifa mayor urged residents with water sprinklers to help put out the flames.
Since the blaze began engulfing the city, Israeli firefighters have been trying to tame as many as 200 fires, The Jerusalem Post reported.
So far, 90 people have been treated for asphyxiation and at least 130 hospitalized for mild injuries over all, but no deaths have been reported.
The situation has also led to the closure of many Israeli schools and universities.
Authorities in Tel Aviv have sought foreign assistance to deal with the conflagration.
A lack of downpours together with very dry air and strong easterly winds contributed to the spread of the fires this week across the Israeli-occupied lands.
An Israeli firefighter plane helps extinguish a fire in Haifa on November 24, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
Meteorology “is conducive to the spread of these fires,” said Noah Wolfson, the chief executive of weather forecasting company Meteo-Tech. “The atmosphere will remain very dry, at least until Monday or Tuesday.”
Israeli officials have blamed some Arab or Palestinian “arsonists” for some of the blazes, calling them “terrorists.”
Israeli accusations come as the regime is under fire for its illegal settlement construction activities in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett, whos is a staunch supporter of the regime’s land grab, said on Twitter that “arsonists” were disloyal to Israel, hinting that “those who set the fires” could not be Israelis.
The claims, however, angered the Fatah movement of President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas, who said the regime in Tel Aviv is “exploiting the fire” to level new allegations against Palestinians.
“What is burning are our trees and our land of historical Palestine
,” said the West Bank-based movement in a statement.