Israeli Border Police hunt for arsonist ‘terrorists’

(JTA) — Israel’s Border Police will set up stakeouts to catch arsonists near Jerusalem and in the north. 

The patrols are a response to 30 different fires that broke out near Jerusalem and in Israel’s north yesterday, police said.

According to Israel Army Radio, Border Police officers began patrolling forested areas near towns and cities in the Jerusalem area today.

Yitzhak Aharonovich, Israel’s Minister of Internal Security, called the fires “spontaneous acts of terrorism.”

Shachar Ayalon, commander of the Israel Fire and Rescue Services, told Army Radio that three of yesterday’s incidents were “major fires” that resulted in damage to property. 

However, this morning he said, “I propose caution. It is impossible to determine that this wave of fires is a result of deliberate arson, and certainly one cannot point to any population as the cause of the fires.”

Forty-four people died in December of 2010 from a major forest fire in the Carmel region near Haifa. Police said they do not know what caused the fire, the worst in Israel’s history. The flames consumed 25 square kilometers of forest and some 17,000 people were evacuated from their homes.

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