Israel Fire Continues to Blaze Out of Control

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Israel's deadliest fire continued to blaze out of control Friday night, as firefighters in the northern community of Nir Etzion had to be air rescued due to increasing flames.

Greece, Cyprus, France and Russia are among a number of countries sending planes and supplies to help Israel put out what is being described as the worst fire in Israel's history.

The fire that started midday on Thursday was still raging out of control Friday in northern Israel.  At least 41 people have died from the blaze, officials said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the fire an "unprecedented disaster."

An estimated 5,000 acres have burned so far. More than 13,000 people have been evacuated.

Forty prison security personnel on their way to evacuate a prison on Thursday were killed when the bus they were traveling on veered off the road and exploded into flames.

Ahuva Tomer, Haifa's police chief, was fighting for her life after she got caught in the fire on her way to help with the accident.

The fire started in an area south of Haifa, Israel's third largest city. Known as one of the most beautiful areas in the country, it includes Mount Carmel where the prophet Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal.

The cause of the fire has not been determined, but a police spokesman told CBN News there was a strong possibility of arson.

Israel has been suffering from one of its worst droughts it has ever experienced and the fierce winds helped to whip the fire along.

"We don't want any more injuries, any more dead," Netanyahu said. "We suffered a hard blow and we don't want any more dead, not even one. That's our mission and that's why we will focus on evacuating, possibly in wide range."

President Barack Obama offered his condolences and assistance to Israel. He said America's thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the fire in Israel.

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CBN News
Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell

CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief

In a time where the world's attention is riveted on events in the Middle East, CBN viewers have come to appreciate Chris Mitchell's timely reports from this explosive region of the world. Mitchell brings a Biblical and prophetic perspective to these daily news events that shape our world.