Wildfires raged across Israel and the Palestinian Territories on Thursday, May 23, amid a regional heat wave. A red alert has been issued to mobilize all firefighters in Israel to battle the blazes in the Jerusalem area, near Mount Hebron (West Bank), and in central, forested areas, among other locations.
Notably, a large fire ignited near Beit Hagai (West Bank) on Thursday, prompting the hospitalization of at least 15 people due to smoke inhalation. Mevo Modi'im (central Israel) has also been evacuated due to a fire, and an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier was injured while trying to extinguish a fire in Kibbutz Karmiya, near Ashkelon. Another large fire has been reported near Kibbutz Harel (Mateh Yehuda regional council), which has been evacuated. The Israeli Health Ministry has advised individuals to avoid outdoor activity, including strenuous outdoor exercise, in the afternoon hours (local time) due to the high temperatures, which are forecast to continue through the weekend.
Associated disruptions, including road closures and power outages, are to be expected in affected areas over the coming hours and days. Additional wildfires may ignite over the coming hours and days as the heat wave continues.
Individuals in Israel and the Palestinian Territories are advised to monitor developments, avoid areas affected by wildfires, prepare for associated disruptions, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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