Tens of thousands of Haifa city residents have been forced to flee their homes as a three day inferno continues to rage in various Israeli cities.

Neighbouring countries, including Greece, Turkey, and Russia offered to assist in firefighting efforts.
Neighbouring countries, including Greece, Turkey, and Russia offered to assist in firefighting efforts.

Israel has accepted the Palestinian offer of sending four firefighter teams to help put out the fires that have been blazing across the country for the last three days, a senior official said on Thursday.

According to Haaretz, tens of thousands of people have been fleeing the northern city of Haifa as the flames continue to spread. Israel has now accepted help from Palestine, which it regularly clashes with and refuses to recognise as a separate state, in extinguishing the flames.

"The fire is out of control and is spreading from one house to the other," the rescue services chief in the Carmel neighbourhood, Naftali Rottenberg, told public radio.

"Sometimes we are taking residents out against their will."

The Israeli government has requested assistance from neighbouring countries in tackling the inferno.

Greece, Russia, and Turkey along with a number of other countries have offered to send several aircraft to assist with efforts to extinguish the fires.

Yael Hame, a Haifa resident who fled her house, said "the fire was up over the skyscrapers. It came up to 20 stories high. It was very frightening."

Around 65 people have been hospitalised with mild injuries, according to the Megan David Adom emergency and medical service.

Suspected Arson

Speculation in Israel quickly turned to how the fires were started.

Netanyahu said arson appeared to be responsible for some fires and accused the perpetrators of terrorism.

"Every fire that was caused by arson, or incitement to arson, is terrorism by all accounts," he told reporters gathered in Haifa. "Whoever tries to burn parts of Israel will be punished for it severely."

Israeli police said that they arrested 12 people in connection with the fires on Friday.

Whether they were set by accident or on purpose is not yet known, however, meteorologists say a long summer with a lack of rain and strong winds have brought about ideal conditions for the fires to spread.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies