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Brush fires sparked by rockets from Lebanon blaze in northern Israel

By AFP

June 4, 2024 06:03 PM


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Israeli authorities were on alert for new brush fires Tuesday, after munitions fired from Lebanon by Hezbollah the previous evening ignited several across northern Israel.

The Israel Fire and Rescue Service said that dozens of firefighting teams worked through the night along with teams from the Nature and Park Service, army, police and other agencies before gaining control over the largest fires in the morning, an AFP journalist reported.

"As of this time there are three active sites" near the border with Lebanon, the fire service posted on X Tuesday. An AFP journalist said firefighters were still handling smaller fires.

The blazes encroached on Kiryat Shmona, a town near the Lebanese border that has been largely evacuated in the face of near-daily exchanges of fire between the army and Hezbollah since Hamas's October 7 attack on Israel triggered war in Gaza.

Extreme heat that has gripped the region in recent days has raised the risk of brush fires. The daily barrages of rockets and drone strikes have rained down incendiary material.

An AFP photographer in the northern town saw intense blazes engulfing parts of the border area.

On Sunday, a brush fire in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights burned around 10 square kilometers (nearly four square miles) of land after a rocket fired from Lebanon struck near the town of Katzrin.

Lebanon's state-run National News Agency also reported fires in Alma al-Shaab and Dhayra, two villages near the Israeli border. It said the fires were caused by "Israeli phosphorus incendiary shells".

The Israeli army said it had deployed reinforcements to support firefighters overwhelmed by the scale of the blazes.

"Six... reservist soldiers were lightly injured as a result of smoke inhalation and transferred to a hospital to receive medical treatment," the army said.

"The forces gained control over the locations of fire, and at this stage, no human life is at risk," it added.

Officers of the army's Northern Command had arrived in Kiryat Shmona during the night and the army was "conducting a situational assessment" in the sector.

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was closely monitoring the fires.

In retaliation, the Israeli army announced it had carried out air strikes against what it said were Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon.

NNA reported that Israeli incendiary shells had sparked a forest fire that was approaching houses in the southern village of Alma al-Shaab on Tuesday.

 


AFP


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