Fire in Mevaseret Tzion Forces Evacuations

A firefighting plane in operation over Mevasseret Tzion, near Yerushalayim, Sunday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A fire that broke out near Yerushalayim in Mevaseret Tzion on Sunday afternoon forced several evacuations and threatened to derail the swearing-in of the new government.

Police evacuated residents from several homes in the suburb of the capital, including an old age home in the nearby town of Motza, as the flames spread.

Numerous firefighting crews were working to bring the fire under control, with six tanker planes assisting in the effort. The Israel Fire and Rescue Services suspects arson, according to Haaretz.

Firefighters noted that the hot, dry weather on Sunday and winds were aiding the flames to spread quickly.

Police closed Route 1 to Yerushalayim due to the fire, while three MKs—Merav Ben-Ari of Yesh Atid, Esawi Frej of Meretz and Keren Barak of Likud—were reportedly rescued from the traffic jam by police and escorted to the Knesset in order to cast their votes.

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