Residents of the town of Negohot in the southern Chevron Hills were evacuated from their homes early Sunday, after a brush fire spread rapidly in the hot and dry conditions that prevailed in Israel. The fire was started by an IDF flare, which soldiers set off early Sunday to detect suspicious activity.
The incident began at about 2 a.m. Sunday, when soldiers thought they had seen an Arab attempt to climb the security fence around the town. The soldiers set off a flare, which ignited brush outside the security fence – quickly spreading in all directions, as the ground conditions were hot and dry due to a heat wave. Eight firefighting crews and planes were dispatched to help quell the blaze, and two Palestinian Authority crews helped out as well.
Thirteen families who lived in proximity of the fire were forced to leave their homes. The residents were allowed to return home after several hours, when the fire was brought under control.
Overnight Motzoei Shabbos, security officials said they arrested 3 wanted security suspects in other areas in Yehudah and Shomron. The suspects were wanted for participating in rioting and throwing stones and firebombs that endangered Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. Several of the suspects were also charged with belonging to Hamas. All were being questioned on their activities by security forces.