Huge fires force evacuations in central Israel and close Highway 443

The heavy heat and dry winds sweeping through the region have whipped up large fires across central Israel inland and the Jerusalem Hills – up to Beit Shemesh. Firefighters grappling with the flames are evacuating homes at Kibbutz Harel, Mevo Modi’in, Gimzu, parts of Maccabim and Kfar Daniel, and closed Highway 443 to Jerusalem. Several buildings have been damaged by fire in the Nachshonim Forest and smoke victims are being taken to hospital. The fire brigade has declared an emergency call-up for all its teams.

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