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Haifa fire out of Control

04. December 2010. | 08:31

Source: ANA

At least 41 people have died and 17 have been injured, two of them in critical condition, in the Carmel region near Haifa in what is thought to be Israel's largest forest fire.

At least 41 people have died and 17 have been injured, two of them in critical condition, in the Carmel region near Haifa in what is thought to be Israel's largest forest fire.

The fire is raging since Thursday and has not been brought under control due to high winds. Greek firefighting air-crafts have arrived in Israel while Turkey, France and Aizerbaitzan and Russia have dispatched two water bombers each, Croatia and Rumania one aircraft each and Cyprus has sent three aircrafts. The US is sending a Boeing 747 with flame retardant material.

Police have not released final death toll as only 11 bodies have been recognized and many people are still missing and investigation continues.

Some 370 firefighters are battling against flames but inefficiency of means forced Israeli Prime-minister Benjamin Netaniahu to make urgent appeal for foreign help.

More than 15.000 residents of the region south of Haifa have abandoned their homes.

Concerns had been growing in the media about the potential effects of the unusually warm, dry conditions that ultimately caused the blaze in Galilee to spread.

Benjamin Netaniahu, who visited the region spoke of "unprecedented destruction, never seen so far".

"We lost control of the fire", admitted spokesman for Haifa Fire department, while Public Security Minister said it was impossible to estimate when the fire fronts would be brought under control.

Of the 41 killed in the blaze 36 were prison guards travelling on a bus sent to help evacuate Damon prison and the bus they were travelling was trapped in the inferno by a fallen tree in the Carmel Mountains near Haifa.


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