Israeli police detains 23 on suspicion of arson in connection with wildfires

Jerusalem [Israel], Nov. 27 : Twenty-three people have been detained by Israeli police on suspicion of arson in connection with wildfires that swept across central and northern parts of the country this week, said police spokeswoman Luba Samri.

According to spokesman for Israel's Fire and Rescue Services, Yoram Levi, firefighters have dealt with more than 250 large fires since last weekend.

The Head of the investigation unit of the Israel fire and rescue services, Ran Sheluf said over 1,500 cases of fire have been reported to the authorities.

"This is twice the usual number. The cause of the fires is either negligence or being started deliberately," CNN quoted Sheluf, as saying.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had yesterday called and thanked Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for sending fire trucks and personnel to fight the blazes, according to the Prime Minister's Office.

Israeli crews were assisted by Palestinian fire crews assisted in northern Israel and near Jerusalem. Nael Al-Azzeh of the Palestinian Civil Defense said that eight fire trucks were provided by the Palestinian Civil Defense on Thursday in response to an Israeli request for help.

Source: ANI