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Forest fire near Jerusalem contained after villages evacuated

Published: Updated:

A forest fire on the outskirts of Jerusalem led to villages being evacuated Wednesday before Israeli firefighters managed to bring the blaze under control.

The highway from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv was shut down along with the train line that connects the two main cities, police said.

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They later said the blaze, some 15 kilometers (10 miles) northwest of Jerusalem, had largely been brought under control after ripping through 265 hectares (650 acres) of forest, though small fires were still burning.

A firefighting plane works on extinguishing a fire raging in a forest area near Kibbutz Neve Ilan west of Jerusalem, on June 9, 2021. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)
A firefighting plane works on extinguishing a fire raging in a forest area near Kibbutz Neve Ilan west of Jerusalem, on June 9, 2021. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

There was no immediate word on the cause of the blaze, which spread through woods close to populated areas and sent dark smoke into the sky over the hills outside Jerusalem.

The villages of Maale HaHamisha and Yad Hashmona were evacuated, police said, but residents were able to return to their homes during the evening.

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