Between Thursday and Friday, Israeli forces detained at least 16 Palestinians across Israel and the occupied West Bank over suspicions of starting fires that erupted in Haifa and have continued to spread for the fourth consecutive day. Israeli authorities have claimed that the fires were started by “political arson” against the Israeli State. However, other sources have said the fires were likely caused by a combination of extreme winds and a drought.
On Friday, Israel Police arrested three residents of an Arab village in the north, on suspicion of starting a fire in the area of Alon Hagalil, a community in the Lower Galilee. The arrests bring the number of suspects in custody to 15. The detainees were all held on suspicion of setting or inciting at least some of the hundreds of fires that have engulfed Israeli towns and forests this week. The families of the three suspects said they started a peaceful bonfire in the village grounds and remained close to it until it was doused, and as such there was no basis to the allegations against them.