Forest fires blaze in north Israel after rockets launched from Lebanon

AFP , Tuesday 4 Jun 2024

Israeli authorities were battling intense forest fires Tuesday in the north of the country that broke out shortly after rocket and drone strikes from neighbouring Lebanon, forcing the partial evacuation of one town.

Israeli fires
Smoke rises from the woods which caught fire following rockets launched from Lebanon into northern Israel, in Kiryat Shmona near the southern Lebanon border, on June 4, 2024, amid the ongoing cross-border clashes between Israeli troops and Hezbollah fighters. AFP


"Firefighting units, assisted by various entities, are working to extinguish the fires," Israeli police said in a statement, adding that several homes in Kiryat Shmona had been evacuated.

An AFP photographer in the northeastern town saw intense blazes engulfing parts of the area bordering Lebanon, the scene of near-daily exchanges of fire between the Israeli army and the Hezbollah resistance group on the sidelines of Israel's war on Gaza.

The Israeli army said it had deployed reinforcements to support firefighters overwhelmed by the scale of the fires.

"Six IDF reservist soldiers were lightly injured as a result of smoke inhalation and transferred to a hospital to receive medical treatment," the army said.

"The forces gained control over the locations of fire, and at this stage, no human life is at risk," it added.

Leaders of the army's Northern Command had arrived in Kiryat Shmona during the night and the army was "conducting a situational assessment" in the sector.

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was closely monitoring, together with the army, the development of the fires, which broke out on Monday after rocket fire and the fall of drones launched from Lebanon.

In retaliation, the Israeli army announced it had carried out air strikes against what it said were Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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