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A four-day fire claimed 42 lives, caused 17,000 evacuations and devastated almost 12,500 acres in northern Israel.
Describing it as the “worst inferno in Israel’s history,” Reuters stated the nation“struggled to contain a huge and deadly forest fire…despite the efforts of firefighting planes from half a dozen countries.”
Authorities said the fire, which has now been quelled, resulted from negligence. The Jewish Chronicle reported that a 14-year-old boy “admitted to discarding a lit coal, used in smoking a [tobacco] water pipe, in an open area. Investigators believe this is what initially caused the devastating blaze, although unseasonably dry weather and strong winds have been blamed for why it spread.”
Of those “killed in the giant blaze that began in the Carmel Mountain Range…36 were guards on their way to Damun Penitentiary to help with its evacuation, and were killed when the fast-moving fire engulfed their bus in flames,” The Jerusalem Post reported.
A high-ranking female police officer also died from injuries she sustained after her patrol car became trapped in a burning forest.