Israeli police said Friday that at least 12 people were in custody on suspicion of starting a series of huge fires that has forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes and left widespread damage across the country.

Some of the fires, which started Monday night, were still burning Friday and numerous countries, including Russia, Turkey, Jordan and Egypt, had sent emergency crews and firefighting planes to help Israel tackle the blazes. The Palestinian Authority also sent four firefighting teams.

Israeli media reported that the largest firefighting plane, the Supertanker, was on its way from the United States and is expected to land in Israel on Friday evening. Several American fire crews were also expected to arrive in the coming hours. The fires have spread quickly due to gusty winds and a lack of rain.

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Image courtesy of EPA

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