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  • » 12/03/2010, 00.00

    ISRAEL

    Fire on Mount Carmel: 40 dead



    A prison bus was engulfed in flames. So far almost 3 000 hectares destroyed. Netanyahu: "An unprecedented disaster." Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Russia, Turkey send air tankers and helicopters.

    Tel Aviv (AsiaNews) - At least 40 people died in a fire yesterday on Mount Carmel in the north of Haifa. The fire continued to blaze throughout the night as Israel awaits the arrival of air-tankers from neighboring countries.

    Most of the victims are prison guards who were traveling on the bus. Over 13 thousand people, including many prisoners were evacuated from the area. Police evacuated a university, three prisons and a hospital. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the affected area and spoke of an "unprecedented disaster."

    The cause of the fire is not yet known. It may be due to drought, there has been no substantial rainfall in Israel since last spring. Yesterday the fire, aided by a strong wind advanced at a rate of 1500 meters every three minutes.

    The Israeli media call the disaster "the worst fire in the history of the country”. As of yesterday evening, the destruction extended to almost 3 thousand hectares.

    The State of Israel does not have the means to deal with fires of this size. For this reason Netanyahu has asked for international help and announced that Greece, Cyprus and Spain have now sent nine (Canadair) air tankers and a helicopter.

    The Foreign Ministry said they expect a total of 17 aircraft and helicopters, two from Turkey - despite the difficult diplomatic crisis between the two countries, two from Russia, one from Croatia, three from Cyprus, one from Romania.

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    See also

    06/12/2010 ISRAEL
    Four-day Mount Carmel fire overpowered
    International assistance is crucial to control fire because of local capacity proves insufficient. The death toll rises to 42 after Haifa police chief Ahuva Tomer dies. She was the first police chief in Israel’s history.

    04/12/2010 ISRAEL
    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.

    07/12/2010 ISRAEL
    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.

    07/12/2010 ISRAEL-TURKEY
    Ankara and Jerusalem, attempt "fire diplomacy "
    Turkey’s contribution to rescue operations against the fire of Mount Caramel an opportunity to overcome barriers between the two countries, created after the attack on the "Gaza flotilla." Talks in Geneva, but difficulties remain.

    12/05/2009 VATICAN – ISRAEL
    May Jerusalem become a city of peace, open to all
    Benedict XVI celebrates his first public Mass in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, beneath the Mount of Olive. Believers in the one God should promote a culture of openness and reconciliation. Christians in the Holy Land, who have suffered for many reasons, should keep alive the hope that comes from the Gospel.



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