According to a report published by Yedioth Ahronoth Tuesday, more than 20 fires have been maliciously set in West Bank settlements and outposts in the past few weeks.
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Police investigators determined that all of the fires were the result of arson and evidence in all cases led to surrounding Arab villages. The Judea and Samaria District Police have recently arrested six suspects.
Defense establishment sources have expressed concern that the area may be facing an "arson intifada," saying Palestinians have foregone hurling rocks and rioting in favor of setting fires near settlements and letting the hot weather and winds do the rest – i.e. feed the blaze as it spreads and threatens communities and wildlife alike.
Residents of northern West Bank outpost of Mizpeh Danny have had to conquer seven fires over the past three weeks, Neve Tzuf, Migron, and Givat Ronen outposts battle an average of one fire a week; and just last week, an entire neighborhood in the Kochav Yaakov settlement in the Binyamin region had to be evacuated after flames began devouring its outskirts.
"This is a genuine concern," Amiad Kadmon, Mizpeh Danny's security officer, told Yedioth Ahronoth. "This could literally burn our lives down to the ground."
The IDF has also voiced concerns over the new "trend": Binyamin Division Commander Colonel Saar Tzur has declared the fight against arson a top priority, boosting patrols and intelligence gathering in the sector in an effort to foil the threat.
"This is exponentially more dangerous than the sticks and stones symbolizing popular resistance," a military source said. "The Palestinians have discovered a new and powerful weapon, which both terrorizes the settlers and is a major cause of concern for us.
"This is a new kind of intifada for us to learn to deal with," he concluded.
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