Police arrested three suspects on suspicion of intentionally causing a fire in the Einot Tzukim nature reserve by the Dead Sea early on Tuesday.
Authorities detained two residents of east Jerusalem and one resident of the West Bank village of al-Azariya a on suspicion of pouring flammable liquid in the nature reserve and igniting a large fire.
At about 2 a.m. on Tuesday, police observed a suspicious vehicle on Route 90. Police followed the car and ordered the driver to pull over but he continued driving. Police eventually stopped the car on Highway 1. A search of the vehicle revealed funnels and a strong smell of gasoline both in the car and on the suspects’ clothes.
The fire burned some 50 hectares (125 acres) of vegetation in the nature reserve. Several teams of fire fighters, with the help of two helicopters, extinguished the blaze.