Fire fighters try to extinguish a forest fire near Kibbutz Harel, on May 23, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Fire fighters try to extinguish a forest fire near Kibbutz Harel, on May 23, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

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As Israel braces for more wildfires while temperatures spike, the Israeli prime minister thanked its neighbors Greece, Croatia, Italy, Egypt and Cyprus for sending help battling the blazes.

By Associated Press

Israel braced for renewed wildfires Friday amid a major heat wave that shows no signs of abating.

At an emergency briefing, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had appealed for international help to combat the fires, and that aid has arrived from Greece, Croatia, Italy, Egypt and Cyprus.

Israel “really appreciates” the help, Netanyahu said, singling out Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi for pitching in with two helicopters. He added that several others, including Russia and the Palestinian Authority, offered aid.

“I am deeply thankful for the readiness of neighbors to help us in a time of crisis, just as we help them,” Netanyahu said.

Thousands of people were evacuated from towns and dozens of homes were torched Thursday as fires raged, fueled by high temperatures and dry conditions. Over 500 acres of woodland have burned, said Nitai Zecharya, an Israeli official from the Jewish National Fund, known for planting forests in the country.

Zecharya said that while firefighters had brought most of the blaze under control, officials remained “very stressed” about strong winds fanning flames and “spreading fires to other fronts.”

The exact cause of wildfire remains unclear.

On Wednesday, Palestinians terrorists launched 10 arson balloons carrying incendiary devices into Israeli territory, igniting fires in the south. Hamas-orchestrated arson terror during the past 15 months has destroyed thousands of acres of Israeli farmland, causing millions of dollars in damage.

On Wednesday evening, Jewish Israelis observed the Jewish festival of Lag Ba’Omer, which is marked with bonfires.

A sweltering heat wave is pushing temperatures in parts of the country up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, or 43 Celsius.

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