'We hope to contain the fire during the morning and afternoon hours'

Prime Minister Bennett visits the command center near the wildfire in the Jerusalem hills.

Ben Ariel ,

Bennett near scene of the fire
Bennett near scene of the fire
Shalev Shalom/TPS

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday evening visited the Israel Police and Fire and Rescue Service forward command center, near the wildfire in the Jerusalem hills.

Together with Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, Prime Minister Bennett received updates in the field about the efforts to bring the fire under control, by Israel Police Inspector General Koby Shabtai and Fire and Rescue Service Commissioner Dedi Simchi.

The Prime Minister thanked the firefighters and police officers for their intensive work saving human lives.

"At this time, it seems that the efforts to bring the fire under control are moving in a positive direction but it must be said that it is not over until it is over,” said Bennett.

“Fires and winds have a capricious dynamic and what now seems okay, we could, in another three hours, Heaven forbid, wake up to a very strong line. Therefore, we will make a continuous effort throughout the night.”

“I want to commend the firefighters, the Fire and Rescue Service, the Israel Police, the IDF forces and all of the rescue forces, which have worked in a very synchronized manner, under the leadership of the Public Security Minister, and which very quickly and efficiently rescued hundreds of residents from their homes, something that really saved lives,” continued the Prime Minister.

“Several homes have been burned, in some of the communities. At this time, the fire is moving slowly eastward and therefore we are disturbed by the potential for harm to the area of Ein Kerem and Aminadav and communities on the western side of Jerusalem.”

“The firefighting planes do not operate at night and they will resume activity before 06:00. We hope that during the morning and afternoon hours, we will be able to bring this under control,” said Bennett.

“Until then, I – first and foremost – call on all residents of the area to listen to the directives. Your good discipline and good conduct in following the instructions of the emergency forces have really saved lives.”

“We will continue to closely monitor the situation. Of course, again, I would like to say to all of the forces, on the behalf of myself and the citizens of Israel, we are counting on you," he concluded.



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