Mideast wildfires kill 3, force thousands to flee homes

BEIRUT (AP) - Forest fires in the Middle East triggered by a heat wave in the region have killed three people, forced thousands of people to vacate their homes and set off land mines along the Lebanese-Israeli border, state media and officials said on Saturday With.
The areas affected by the heat wave are Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian Territories. The fires arise amid an intense heat wave unusual for this time of year.
Forest fires that spread to different areas of Israel and the West Bank for a second day on Saturday forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes.
Israeli police said in a statement that firefighters and police forces had evacuated 5,000 residents from the city of Nof Hagalil in northern Israel.
One of the hardest hit countries is war-torn Syria, which has burned three people and suffered dozens of respiratory problems in the past two days. The forest fires also burned large areas of forest, mainly in the central province of Homs and the coastal province of Latakia.
After the firefighters were overwhelmed, some residents helped them use primitive methods, e.g. B. Carrying water in buckets and pouring them into the fire.
On Saturday, special rain prayers were held in mosques in different parts of Syria asking God to send rain to ease the drought and stop the fires.
Bassem Douba, director of the forestry division of the Agriculture Department in Latakia, was quoted by the state news agency SANA as saying that the number of fires in various locations had reached 85.
Also in Latakia Province, fires in President Bashar Assad's hometown, Qardaha, damaged a building that was used as a warehouse for the state tobacco company and which partially collapsed.
In Lebanon, firefighters supported by military helicopters fought fires in the north, center and south of the country. A large fire in the southern village of Bater burned hundreds of pine trees and approached homes when it was brought under control.
The Lebanese state news agency reported fires in several villages along the border with Israel, some of which sparked land mine explosions on the heavily guarded front.

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