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Wave of arson fires in Israeli settlements outside Gaza

A number of major fires broke out on Sunday in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip and in Sderot, including a large fire near Kibbutz Or Ha’Ner which is still raging out of control, Channel 2 News reported. There is a danger that the fires will spread to homes and cowsheds in the kibbutz.


Many firefighting teams, with the help of four special firefighting planes, are working in the area to prevent the fire from spreading. Israeli authorities suspect that all the arson cases were started by burning kites that set fields and structures on fire.

Earlier in the day, five more fires were set in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council, near the border with the Gaza Strip. Drones that filmed the area from the air captured the great damage from the raging flames. Firefighters rushed to all five locations quickly and managed to extinguish most of the fires, except the one in Or Ha’Ner.

The rescue forces are working throughout the kibbutz Or Ha’Ner area, evacuating cowsheds and homes that are in potential danger.

Thousands of drivers have been stuck in huge traffic jams, and they are waiting until firefighters gain control over the blaze and traffic returns to normal. In the meantime, police forces in the area are directing traffic as best they can.

MK Ayelet Nahmias-Rabin (Zionist Camp) appealed to Prime Minister Netanyahu to declare the Gaza envelope settlements a disaster area.

“So far, according to estimates, some 6,200 acres of agricultural land and nature preserves have been burned in the area,” Nahmias-Rabin said.