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Negligence blamed for Israeli fire

EIN HOD, Israel – Negligence, not arson, appears to have caused the worst forest fire in Israel’s history, police said Saturday as firefighters from around the world worked to quell the deadly blaze for a third consecutive day.

Two people were arrested in connection with the fire.

Israel Radio, citing unidentified police officials, said the blaze likely was started by a family that failed to extinguish a picnic fire.

The blaze, which broke out Thursday, tore through the hilly pine Carmel Forest that clings to the mountain ridge above the northern city of Haifa, Israel’s third-largest city.

The blaze has killed 41 people – most of them prison guards whose bus was engulfed by flames as they rushed to evacuate a prison. More than 17,000 people have been displaced.


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