Middle East

Blazes break out in northern Israel after cross-border attacks from Lebanon

By Mostafa Salem and Mike Schwarz, CNN

CNN  — 

Large fires broke out in northern Israel overnight, Israeli police said early Tuesday, attributing the blazes to rocket fire from southern Lebanon.

The flames consumed some 4,000 dunams (1,000 acres or 400 hectares) of the northern region, local Israeli firefighting chief Boris Eisenberg said. Israel’s Fire and Rescue Services said 18 firefighting teams, including an air firefighting squadron, had been deployed.

Teams worked through the night and “gained control in all sectors,” Eisenberg said.

Two other fires were spreading in the north due to the weather conditions and an interceptor falling in Biriya Forest in Upper Galilee, Uri Cohen, a spokesperson for the fire and rescue services in the north, said Tuesday.

“We saw the interception and responded with increased forces and high intensity,” Cohen said, adding that forces were trying to contain the fire.

Authorities began evacuating residents as fires broke out at noon local time on Monday in the mountainous Galilee region, Israeli police said. Authorities said they helped to evacuate homes in Kiryat Shmona, a northern city near the Lebanese border.

The blazes came after Israel warned Monday that a heatwave was expected and cautioned against lighting fires in forests.

Lebanon’s Islamist group Hezbollah said Monday that it launched a “swarm of drones” on Israel’s Galilee military command, causing fires in the building. The group said they were a response to Israeli strikes on homes and Hezbollah forces in southern Lebanon, adding that three Hezbollah fighters were killed on Monday.

Thousands of Israeli residents have been displaced after cross-border hostilities began between Hezbollah and the Israeli military in October last year. The Lebanese group said its attacks on northern Israel were in response to Israel’s war in Gaza.

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