Besides organizing anti-Israel protests across the country on “Nakba Day,” mourning the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948, Palestinian arsonists caused a huge fire in the Jerusalem area, destroying vegetation.
A massive brush fire erupted near the Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev on Sunday afternoon due to Molotov cocktails thrown by Palestinians from the nearby Shuafat refugee camp, a firefighter on the scene told Tazpit Press Service (TPS). The blaze consumed the natural vegetation of the Wadi al-Halaf valley and threatened to spread to the adjacent neighborhood.
The incident occurred as Palestinians marked the annual Nakba Day, or “Day of Catastrophe,” on Sunday, mourning Israel’s victory in the 1948 War of Independence, when the nascent Jewish state fought five invading Arab armies.
Palestinians organized protests and demonstrations throughout the country and near the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip.
Firefighters as well as volunteers and police officers arrived on the scene of the arson and eventually prevented the fire from spreading into the residential areas, but not before the fire consumed most of the natural brush of the valley.
The fire most likely escalated due to the heatwave which hit Israel on Saturday and will last until Monday, according to Israeli meteorologists. Temperatures in Jerusalem approached 100 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday.
According to Shimon Ben-Ner, the Ministry of Internal Security’s fire and rescue commissioner, “extreme conditions are raising the odds of fires erupting.”
Sunday’s arson attack comes after Palestinian youths were caught on security cameras on Saturday night throwing Molotov cocktails into the Hebrew University Mount Scopus campus in Jerusalem, causing a fire along the university’s peripheral road.
By: Michael Zeff/TPS