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Sunday
Dec052010

Israeli Officials: Deadly Blaze Contained

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- The fire that incinerated over 12,000 acres of Israel's Mount Carmel forest, left more than 40 dead, and forced thousands from their homes has been contained, Israeli officials said Sunday.

More than 30 planes and helicopters -- 20 of them from foreign countries -- took to the skies to assist the firefight.

Israeli police have arrested two brothers, aged 16 and 14, from the Druze village of Isfiya who they suspect may have started the fire.  Police allege the teens were negligent and left a fire burning that they had started near their home.  Police do not believe the case is arson.  The boys' parents told reporters their sons are innocent and being used as a scapegoat.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held his weekly cabinet meeting in the northern part of the country, near the scene of the blaze.  He thanked many in the international community for their assistance.  Netanyahu spoke by phone with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for the first time in two months and thanked him for agreeing to send a number of firefighting trucks.

The Israeli prime minister is coming under harsh criticism for not adequately funding firefighters, despite prior requests and warnings. Some are calling for the resignation of the interior minister, who is officially in charge of the funding.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio