Israel asks allies for help as wildfires rage near Jerusalem

Hundreds of residents have been moved to safety from their homes

Israeli leaders on Monday appealed to international allies as firefighters battled a wildfire near Jerusalem for a second day, after it forced hundreds of residents from their homes.

Israel's Fire and Rescue Service said that 75 teams and 12 aircraft were working to contain fire in the forested hills west of the city.

At least 17 square kilometres of forest have already been burnt, official tallies show, making it one of the largest wildfires in the country’s history.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said he had spoken to his Greek peer Nikos Dendias, asking for more firefighting aircraft, and that he had pledged to help in whatever way possible.

Israel in recent weeks sent assistance to Greece while it was battling its own wildfires.

Mr Lapid said Israel was also in contact with Cyprus, Italy, France and others about possible assistance.

Residents of several communities were moved from their homes on Sunday as the fire raged out of control, fuelled by winds and extremely dry conditions after a hot summer.

More evacuations were taking place on Monday.

The Environmental Protection Ministry warned residents of very high air pollution and advised against prolonged outdoor activity.

Investigators were still working to determine the cause of the fire.

Updated: August 16th 2021, 10:11 PM