More than a dozen suspects have been arrested on suspicion of intentionally lighting fires that have ravaged parts Israel and the West Bank.
Israeli security forces on Saturday detained a Palestinian suspect who was sighted on security footage igniting a fire in the northwestern Etzion region as hundreds of wildfires ravaged parts of Israel and the West Bank for a fifth-straight day.
The suspect, who was initially seen by a Nature and Parks Authority worker, was handed over to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) for further investigation.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit stated that during the night an IDF force near Dir Kaddis in the Ephraim region captured three suspects in a vehicle. The suspects were found to have two full bottles of fuel, one empty bottle of fuel, a sack with fabric, gloves and lighters.
The IDF spokesperson’s unit delivered a messaged stating that “the IDF is continuing specific activity to locate arsonists.”
Over the past few days, special efforts have been made by the West Bank forces in coordination with the Shin Bet to locate and arrest suspected arsonists.
Israel stepped up efforts on Saturday to extinguish wildfires that have been scorching large swathes of the country. As of Saturday, more than 10 suspected Palestinian arsonists have been arrested.
While many hotspots have been contained, new conflagrations spread throughout north and central Israel and parts of the West Bank for a fifth straight day Saturday.
Firefighters battled the flames in Israel with support from Palestinian firemen and emergency teams from Greece, Cyprus, Croatia, Italy, Russia and Turkey.
Unseasonably dry weather and easterly winds helped kindle the fires, which erupted on Tuesday and stretched across half the country.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has labeled the apparently-intentional ignition of some blazes as “arson-terrorism” carried out by “elements with great hostility toward Israel”.