Israel on high alert after wildfires destroy 40 homes

Around 40 homes have been destroyed by wildfires in central Israel but the emergency services were able to evacuate those in the path of the blaze and there have been no reports of casualties (AFP Photo/Ahmad GHARABLI)

Jerusalem (AFP) - Israel remained on high alert on Friday after wildfires fed by tinder dry conditions destroyed around 40 homes.

There were no reports of casualties from Thursday's fires as the emergency services evacuated homes in the path of the blaze in the centre of the country.

Addressing a crisis meeting on Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked foreign governments which had helped tackle the blaze.

Croatia, Cyprus, Greece and Italy sent firefighting planes, while Egypt, one of only two Arab governments that have signed a peace treaty with Israel, sent two helicopters.

Several roads across the danger zone in central Israel remained closed for fear that the fires would reignite amid the unseasonable heat.

Temperatures have topped 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) across much of the country for several days.

In 2016, wildfires damaged or destroyed around 700 homes in Israel and the occupied West Bank, and sent more than 13,000 hectares (32,000 acres) of woodland up in smoke.