Death toll of Haifa fire rises to 43 Israelis
Sunday, December 5,2010 20:22

 NAZARETH, The death toll from the massive bushfire in the heavily-forested Carmel hill, southeast of Haifa, rose to 43 on Saturday morning, while Israeli official sources said that the fire reached a minefield in the far north.

The sources said that the northernmost fires, which erupted Saturday at Manara and Margaliot areas near Kiryat Shemona and the Galilee Panhandle settlement, set off explosions in a nearby minefield.

Another fire reportedly broke out before noon today in Basma village in the Galilee. All efforts to contain the fires have so far failed.

For its part, the Aqsa foundation for endowment and heritage said Israeli settlers deliberately set fire this morning to the trees around Al-Qassam cemetery in Al-Sheikh town, east of Haifa, affirming that the fire burnt about 20 graves of Palestinians and caused partial damage to others.

In this regard, de facto president Mahmoud Abbas expressed in a letter sent to his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres his solidarity with the Israeli people and his grief over the human and material losses that resulted from Carmel fire.

The official news agency of the Palestinian Authority (PA) stated Saturday that Abbas offered Peres his readiness to help Israel to fight the blaze and extended his condolences to the families of the Israelis killed in the fire.

PA civil defense forces and firefighters were seen participating in the efforts to extinguish the fire.

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