60,000 flee flames in Israel

 
60,000 flee flames in Israel
Tens of thousands of people are being evacuated as wildfires rage through parts of Israel's third largest city of Haifa, reports the BBC.

The fires follow a two-month drought and are being fanned by strong winds in the north of the city.

Fires are also threatening homes near Jerusalem and in the West Bank.

Israel's police chief said arson was suspected in some cases and PM Benjamin Netanyahu said any such attacks would amount to "terror".

"Every fire that was the result of arson or incitement to arson is terror in every way and we'll treat it as such," he was quoted by Haaretz newspaper as saying.

"Anyone who tries to burn parts of the state of Israel will be severely punished."

Police chief Roni Alsheich said that if fires had been started deliberately it was "safe to assume... it is politically-motivated''.

According to the Washington Post, as many as 60,000 Israelis have been evacuated in Haifa as the fires continue to rage.

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