Israel's national rescue service says about 40 people have died in the wake of a massive forest fire in northern Israel. It says many of the deaths occurred when a bus evacuating people from the area went up in flames.
Authorities have cleared the area of hundreds of people, including some 500 Palestinian prisoners, after the fire broke out early Thursday, according to The Associated Press.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed Defense Minister Ehud Barak to send IDF forces to the Carmel region to aid in putting out the huge brushfire.
Hundreds of people were evacuated from areas around the Carmel Forest with the help of a large force of rescue workers who were called to the scene to evacuate dozens of homes and close off traffic on neighboring roads.
Thousands of dunams of natural forest were burned down and the power supply was cut off in the areas of Isfiyeh and Daliyat al-Karmel, according to Ha'aretz.