Israel Battles Wildfires after Record Heatwave


Israel sent teams of firefighters and planes Thursday to contain a blaze near Jerusalem as record temperatures fueled wildfires across the country.

Some 100 fires have been reported in Israel in recent days and "at least three or four areas had to be evacuated," a public security ministry spokeswoman told AFP. 

The Israel Meteorological Service reported record high temperatures Wednesday, saying Sodom, near the Dead Sea, had experienced a high of 49.9 Celsius (121.8 Fahrenheit) -- unprecedented since Israel's founding in 1948.

The ministry spokeswoman said no one had been injured in the fires, which were likely sparked through negligence and amplified by "high temperatures, drought and winds".

Twelve teams of firefighters and four planes fought blazes Thursday at Lifta, near a major highway into Jerusalem, she said, adding that it had been brought under control by the evening.