Blaze spreading towards Haifa University, authorities blocks Highway 4, Israel police face arab arson wave all across the country, PA gives Israel a helping hand, Hezbholla overjoyed.
More then 15 states gives aid to Israel in fighting the disaster.
Some 30 firefighting aircraft to battle flames Saturday
Latest Update: 12.04.10
Northern fire spreads in University of Haifa's direction, official says; dorms evacuated earlier. the Carmel forests hotel also under threat, he say, firefighting teams ordered to evacuate site, which turned into 'trap of fire'
17,000 Israelis evacuated
Earlier in the evening, the fire was spreading towards Haifa and other areas, as aerial firefighting efforts were halted for the night. Thousands of residents in Haifa's Denia neighborhood were evacuated from their homes Thursday and officials fear the fire may now reach their homes.
Friday evening, firefighters managed to contain the fire in the Hai Bar nature reserve reignited earlier Friday.
PA lends firefighters a hand
Palestinian official says authority decided to help because blaze in north is 'human catastrophe'
Senior Palestinian security official Ahmed Rizek Abu Rabia said a number of Palestinian fire trucks had taken part in a special operation in Taibe and Barta'a, two Arab villages in the Galilee, which also had fires nearby.
Rizek said the teams had extinguished fires in and around Barta'a, and that they continue to operate in the area. "This is a human catastrophe," Rizek said. "The Palestinian side is offering all the help it can through official channels."
Jordan, Egypt, and Turkey also sent aid. But they also sustained criticism. A Palestinian official identified with Islamic Jihad inveighed Friday against Arab leaders "whose hearts fill with compassion for the Zionist disaster".
"There is no need to tell you how delighted we are that more than 40 cadets who tortured prisoners were killed in this fire. We never met with your compassion when Israel attacked us. Let the fire consume (Israel)," he said.
Hezbollah overjoyed by fire
Arab media disparages Israel over disaster.
Arab networks celebrate fire disaster: Many Arab media outlets have been taking advantage of Israel's fire disaster to disparage the Jewish state and rejoice over its misfortune.
"The great Carmel fire embarrassed Israel's firefighting capabilities and proved its almost complete incompetence," a report by Hezbollah's al-Manar network said. The Lebanese station said the poor performance came despite Israeli claims regarding the IDF Home Front's full readiness to cope with any emergency and face the implications of an all-out war.
The Qatar-based al-Jazeera network reported that "Israel failed to contain the fire." The popular Arab station also noted that the Jewish state had to plead for international help in order to bring the blaze under control.
Arsonists aiming to distract forces battling massive blaze, police officials say; alert level raised
Dozens of blazes were reported across Israel Friday, on top of the massive forest fire still raging in northern Israel, as the police raised its alert level nationwide.
Police officials suspect that many of the latest blazes were set by arsonists.
Police sources estimated that the culprits are taking advantage of the situation in the north and are attempting to distract forces dealing with the massive fire by producing additional emergency events.
Security forces in southern Israel reported several small fires, and firefighters put out two other blazes near the garbage dump next to arab town of Tayibe in central Israel. Many other fires were reported in various sites in the north. A bicycle and a wig were found next to a fire that broke out in the town of Kiryat Bialik in the Haifa District, reinforcing suspicions of arson.
A few blazes originating simultaneously in different sites west of the arab northern town of Shfar'am also appeared intentional. Arson was investigated in the case of a brushfire that was set between the Mashad and Ilut arab villages.
Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen instructed police commanders to send officers to areas where fires break out and monitor suspicious individuals.
Two residents of the Druze town of Daliyat al-Karmel, both in their 30s, who threw a bottle in the Mount Carmel area were arrested for allegedly attempting to start a fire. Police officials later said no wrongdoing had been established with certainty.
Cohen said that the Carmel forest fire originated in one site, but noted that it is unclear whether it was caused by arson or negligence. He said that an assessment on the matter is to be presented by Saturday morning.
Israel’s deadliest fire, which claimed the lives of 42 people so far, continues to rage for second night in a row: Several firefighters were rescued from the flames in the northern community of Nir Etzion Friday night, as authorities were preparing to launch a major operation to battle the flames Saturday.
The huge northern Israel fire raged out of control late Friday, prompting authorities to block Highway 4. Residents of Nir Etzion as well as Ein Hod and Yemin Ord were ordered to leave their homes urgently as result of grave fears for their lives.
Also Friday, the fire reached the Carmel Forest Spa resort, which was evacuated earlier, and engulfed it in flames. Dozens of firemen were forced to flee the resort earlier as flames approached them rapidly.
The blaze was also moving closer to University of Haifa and to the Denia neighborhood in town, Israel’s third-largest city, and was raging in the Isfiya area as well.
While the blaze rages on, officials at the fire command post are planning to renew major aerial firefighting efforts on Saturday after halting them at night. Authorities are preparing a complex operation utilizing some 30 firefighting aircraft. The effort will be coordinated by Air Force officials who enlisted for the cause.
Firefighting and Rescue Services Spokesman Yoram Levy expressed optimism in a conversation with Ynet, saying that “tomorrow we’ll deliver a serious blow” to the blaze.
By Friday evening, all cases of arson in the north during the day were dealt with and extinguished. Police officials raised their alert level for fear that arsonists will continue to operate nationwide in an effort to disrupt forces battling the blaze. Early Saturday, a new blaze was reported near the northern town of Ma'alot, as police rushed to the scene and sealed off the area.
'Our eyes are burning'
Speaking at a briefing Friday, Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen said he hoped the fire would be extinguished by Saturday night. He added that officials will soon find out whether the massive blaze was the result of arson or negligence.
“Our eyes are burning after working for 16 hours,” an exhausted fireman told Ynet as he emerged from one of the blaze sites. “We make sure to use breathing equipment, yet regrettably we do not wear our protective goggles, as they make our work much more cumbersome.”
Almost no Carmel residents were evacuated Friday, after some 17,000 left their homes Thursday as the flames approached their communities.
Israeli firefighters received massive assistance from many states worldwide, including Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Jordan, Britain, Turkey, France, the United States, Egypt, Italy, Croatia, Romania, Azerbaijan, Switzerland, and Spain. On Friday, the US Administration announced that it was dispatching three firefighting experts to Israel as well as large quantities of fire retardant chemicals.
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