» 12/04/2010, 00.00
Al Qaeda claims fire of Mount Caramel
A group, calling itself "Lions of the mujahideen in Palestine" in an Internet message, claims to have started the fire between Thursday and Friday to avenge the death of some fighters in Gaza. The Israeli authorities deny the fire was caused deliberately. International assistance arrives.
Haifa (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The terrorist organization Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the fire that has devastated the forests of Mount Caramel, the most serious environmental disaster in the history of Israel. Although the local police authorities attribute the blaze to negligence and the prolonged drought that is affecting the region.
Today, a new terrorist group, which claims links to Al Qaeda, posted a video message on jihadist forums, the same used by Osama Bin Laden, declaring to be behind the fire. The group, which calls itself “Lions of the mujahideen in Palestine" claims to have set fire to the trees of Mount Carmel, triggering the inferno which is still raging. "The lions of the mujahideen in Palestine" say they carried out the arson attack on the night between Thursday and Friday - "performing a holy and heroic expedition within the territory of the usurpers on occupied Mount Caramel setting fire to its trees, causing the deaths of more than 40 people and wounding dozens, as recognized by the enemy itself".
The terrorist group, whose credibility has not yet been independently confirmed, also thanked "the wind, which was one of the soldiers of Allah, for his help, by expanding the flames to where we never thought, so that the enemy was not able to subdue it and was forced to seek help from foreign forces. " The message then points out that " this blessed expedition is part of the series of expeditions undertaken against the Jewish occupier to avenge the blood of Muslims killed, first of all Muhamman al- Namnam and the brothers Islam and Muhammad Yasin and other Palestinian Salafi jihadist. The enemy knows that the children of monotheism are not asleep and are capable of teaching them a lesson. " The reference is to the three members of the Palestinian jihadist group "Army of Islam", an acronym related to al-Qaeda in theGaza Strip, killed in recent weeks, in two different Israeli air raids.
But according to the Israeli authorities the fire on Mount Caramel, the most serious environmental disaster in the history of Israel, was not caused by arson but by negligence: according to Israeli police spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld, without giving further details. The fire caused at least 42 deaths, the evacuation of 17 thousand people and destroyed acres of forest in addition to many homes: despite the intervention of fire fighting aircraft sent from abroad, the flames are not yet under control and the strong wind has further fueled the fire, which now threatens some suburbs of Haifa. More international aid has arrived in Israel to help in the battle against the vast fire. Two huge Russian aircraft with a capacity of 42 tons of water, are already working on site, together with the 6 planes sent from France, Turkey, Greece and Cyprus. Fire brigade spokesman, Yoram Levy said that with international help it may be possible to "extinguish the fire by tonight", a blaze that has consumed 4 million trees over an area of 3,400 hectares.
No one arrested yet for the Mt Carmel blaze, the boy detained yesterday is released today
After he was taken into custody yesterday, the boy admitted responsibility for the fire but said it was an accident. Today his confession is thrown out because it was obtained under duress. “I regret the loss of life in the fire, but I refuse to let my son pay the price,” the boy’s father said.
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