Police Arrest Four Arabs in Arson Attack

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HAVAT GILAD - Israel Police arrested four Arabs suspected of setting a fire that destroyed one caravan home and seriously damaged a second in Havat Gilad (Gilad Farm), a small Jewish settlement in Samaria.

Most of the town's residents were in the synagogue on Sunday, the second day of Rosh Hashanah, when they saw the smoke.

"At around 1:00 p.m., one of the residents from the northern houses spotted two people approaching the farm in a blue tractor, carrying an object in their hands," Itzik Zar, one of the residents said.

"While we were setting up a dining room table outside the house, the wind carried the smoke in our direction and in about 10 minutes, the fire reached the table and engulfed it completely," he said.

"I saw smoke coming toward the houses, but despite it being a holiday, I called the emergency hotline and notified the [Yesha] council as well," he said.

The security officer from the nearby community of Yitzhar arrived first with a water truck. Other firefighters and volunteers followed, battling the blaze for several hours.

Injured firefighters and volunteers were treated for smoke inhalation.

The fire destroyed electric power lines and damaged the community's main sewer line. Preliminary estimates put the damage at more than a quarter of a million dollars.

"If this would have happened at night and we would not have been alert, it could have ended in disaster," Itay Raz said.

"There is no water pipe here and the water tanker emptied out before we were done [fighting the flames]," he said. "We waited 40 minutes for a water truck to arrive from Ariel," he said.

"There are people with families and children living here," Raz said, "so let us live."

Sources: YNet news, israel national news

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