Israeli Forest Fire Kills Many

At least 40 people have been killed in an immense wildfire blazing its way through northern Israel, Israeli authorities.

The fire, bolstered by strong winds, blanketed Haifa, Israeli's second-biggest city, in smoke. It was not clear how the fire started, but police were investigating if the blaze started in an illegal dumping ground.

Thousands of people have been evacuated owing to the fire as firefighting equipment was scrambled to the area, according to emergency officials.

Fire-fighting aircraft pledged by different countries began to arrive in Israel Friday morning as more offers of help from around the world came in.

Several nations, including Turkey, were sending firefighting planes, Israel's Foreign Ministry said. Relations between Turkey and Israel have been tense as last spring, when Israeli commandos boarded a Turkish ship carrying humanitarian aid for Gaza, killing nine people.

In addition to Turkey's sending two planes, Greece was sending four, France two, Cyprus two, and one each from Croatia, Russia and Azebaijan, the ministry said.

Spain was sending four aircraft, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. "The essential means are not currently in the field but they are on the way here," he said, adding that he planned to demand more planes from Russia.

The United States is sending a Boeing 747 filled with chemical retardants to assist fight the flames.
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