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Firefighters took 2 hours to respond to Jerusalem fire

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Residents of Maoz Zion Bet are furious with the firefighting services who responded to a blaze that erupted in the Jerusalem area Sunday. 

Residents said that it took firefighters more than two hours to respond to the fire, and by that time the fire had raced up from the Wadi to their homes.

Around ten people, among them a firefighter, were injured as a result of the fire. Damage was caused to a number of homes, and many of the houses lost electricity and water, and have no gas because their balloons exploded.

Mali Ben Yehuda, who lives in Maoz Zion Bet, said her father and brother started putting out the fire with the hose from the house because it took so long for the firefighters to arrive. She said that arsonists sparked a fire Saturday,  and she thinks that fire was not adequately extinguished and that it reignited Sunday.

In response to the fact that two Palestinians were arrested for setting a fire Jerusalem's Motza suburb three weeks ago, she said "it could be that this is the new form of terror attack. It's so hot and dry, they think: Who will blame us."

Thirty-seven firefighting crews, among them around 82 firefighters, as well as five planes were dispatched to the scene to battle the blaze. Firefighters gained partial control over the blaze after hours of activity during one of Israel's hottest days of the year, with temperatures reaching a high of 34 degrees (93.2 degrees Farenheit) in Jerusalem.

In early July, police arrested two Palestinian suspects from the village of Katanna in connection with the large fire that raced through the wadis near Jerusalem two weeks earlier.

Firefighters and police had immediately suspected that the part of that fire that started near Ma’aleh Hahamisha was the result of arson.

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