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The Fires in Haifa Are Acts of Islamist Terror

Posted on December 3 2010 2:03 pm

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Editor’s Note: Click here for Steven Plaut’s first report on the fires in Israel.

Second fire updates:

I had written the name of the Druse Village damaged incorrectly – should be Issafiya and not as I spelled it.

The two coastal highways leading into and out of Haifa are both closed.

There are still conflicting reports coming out about the cause of the fire, with some still saying it was terrorist arson.  I would not put it past the Israeli government to try to save its “peace process pretense” by hiding the fact that the “accident” was really arson and prettifying it.

Tirat Karmel, the impoverished town just south of Haifa, has largely been evacuated, mainly due to smoke.  The flames themselves have not done much damage there.   Ditto for the Denya neighborhood in Haifa near the university.

The guy at the supermarket where I shop for shabbas joked that if the wind changes, the store will have a sale on barbecued chicken but without the need to put them into the grill roaster.  I guess the other joke being the sudden shortage of marshmallows.

Smoke seen from my home windows was threatening and huge this morning but now, about 11:30 AM local, looks calmer.

My colleague and friend Prof. Menachem Kellner has been sending out fire updates.  Here is a copy of his latest:

overnight the neighborhood near the University (Denya=”Denmark”) was evacuated but remains unharmed so far. It is the fanciest neighborhood in Haifa, all private homes.

I have not heard news yet about the status of our police chief and pray for her recovery.

The topography of the city is complicated. Haifa is a sort of peninsula extending into the Mediterranean in a northwesterly direction. The Carmel mountain (which is simply the northesternly end of a range of hills) dominates the city – at the extreme end, the mountain almost kisses the water, which it quite striking and beautiful (and also makes town planning, driving, etc. a bit complicated – which is why the brand new Carmel Tunnel is such a boon). The mountain itself is riven by deep gullies (wadis), which adds to the beauty of the city, but it also means that almost everyone lives on a hillside (good for lovely views from most homes, but hard on arthritic knees). So, by air, Denya is probably only a mile from our home, on the ground the distance is probaby closer to three miles.

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