The fire was brought under control after 52 hours, and there were no reports of serious casualties in the worst fire in the Jerusalem area in years.

The Israeli Fire Brigade said that after Palestinian firefighters and the Israeli Air Force participated in a three-day battle, wildfires in the wooded mountains near Jerusalem have been brought under control.

For many years, the worst fires in the Jerusalem area caused no serious injuries.

On Monday, evacuated residents of several small remote communities were able to return to their homes, and Israel on Tuesday withdrew its request for international air support to extinguish the fire, which burned more than 4,200 acres (1,700 hectares) of land.

Dedi Simchi, director of the National Fire and Rescue Administration, said in a radio speech after nightfall on Tuesday that the flames had been “completely controlled.”

A statement said that the Israeli fire department stated that after 52 hours of fighting, “all fires around Jerusalem were under control.”

Within three days, hundreds of families were evacuated from 10 villages west of the city. The firefighters said there were no casualties.

The outbreak began on Sunday, filling the city with pungent smoke.

Palestinian help

Several fire trucks from the Palestinian Authority (PA) participated in the operation on Tuesday.

The Israeli media and leaders emphasized aid, but the official Palestinian news media did not immediately mention aid.

“I want to thank the PA Chairman [Mahmoud] Abbas took the initiative to send firefighters to assist Israel today. It is the common interest of all of us to care for each other and save lives,” Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a statement.

According to the interim peace agreement signed with Israel in the 1990s, the Palestinian Authority exercises limited autonomy in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Seven years ago, negotiations on a final agreement brokered by the United States broke down.

On Tuesday, a U.S.-made Israeli Air Force C-130J “Super Hercules” transport aircraft and small aircraft dumped chemical flame retardants into wildfires.

In the hot summer months, forest fires are common in Israel, just like in other countries bordering the Mediterranean.

This year, deadly wildfires broke out in Algeria, Cyprus, Greece and Turkey. Algeria was the hardest hit, with at least 90 people killed.

Morocco and Tunisia are also affected.


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