Israel has appealed for help from several countries to help fight a massive wildfire in the Jerusalem area that has already consumed thousands of acres of land and engulfed several communities around the capital.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid spoke with his Greek counterpart who said he would do everything possible to help. The Foreign Ministry has also appealed to the neighboring island nation of Cyprus — which has agreed to help in firefighting efforts — as well as Italy, France and Croatia among other countries.
About 100 firefighting teams have been deployed to the affected area and police evacuated residents from the communities of Kibbutz Tzova, Ein Nakuba, Ein Rafa and Givat Ya'arim due to the spread of the fire.
Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai said that that there was no immediate danger to the towns, but the situation could still change at any given moment. Shabtai ordered to monitor the area using drones to prevent looting of property and make sure no resident was left behind as the blaze neared the localities.
Israel Police have also ordered the capital's Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital to prepare for evacuation as fires kept spreading ever closer.
A senior official at Jerusalem District's Fire and Rescue Services told the Ynet studio that firefighters were preparing for a scenario in which the hospital may be evacuated.
"It's a very complex thing to evacuate a hospital with lots of patients on ventilators, a thing I think we won't ever due, especially not in Israel," Fire Chief Eyal Cohen said.
The hospital said that after assessing the current situation, it was decided not to evacuate patients in the meantime.
Ten water bombers were scrambled over Kibbutz Tzova and several more firefighting teams were called to the scene in an effort to get control of the flames before reaching Mount Eitan and threatening Jerusalem itself.
Heavy pillars of dark smoke could be seen from the capital as the Electric Company reported that the fire caused extensive damage to infrastructure in the area, destroying electric poles and power lines. Teams were on the ground and have been working since the morning hours to restore the power supply.
The Nature and Parks Authority estimates that thousands of animals, including reptiles, rodents, insects and even mammals of hundreds of different species were injured or died in the fire.
Meanwhile, Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg arrived at rescue services' control center and warned the wildfire phenomenon could be further exacerbated due to climate change.
"Due to the climate crisis, such events of fires, extreme weather, floods and climate disasters will only become more frequent and more severe in coming years," she said.
"It requires us to have a completely different approach to the impending climate disasters."
Israel Fire and Rescue Services estimated on Sunday that the fire was the result of arson.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett arrived at the control center Sunday night and commended firefighting and rescue teams for "literally saving lives."