JERUSALEM (JTA) – A fire that caused the evacuation of hundreds of residents of a Jerusalem neighbourhood and nearby moshav and burned more than 70 acres was found to be deliberately set.
The remains of two firebombs were found near where Sunday’s fire was believed to have started, the Times of Israel reported, citing Israeli radio reports.
The fire burned homes and warehouses in Moshav Even Sapir and caused the temporary closing of Route 1, the main highway into Jerusalem, which was reopened by evening. It also moved near Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem, but the hospital was never threatened, according to reports.
Some 30 firefighting teams and at least four airplanes battled the blaze for about eight hours.
The country has been hit by a days-long heatwave, with temperatures reaching over 100 degrees in the Jerusalem area on Sunday.
Other fires that have burned in recent weeks near Jerusalem are believed to have been started by arsonists. Nearly 400 acres of forest in the Jerusalem area have been burned.