Israel is fighting to put out a forest fire that is raging out of control in the Carmel Mountains near the northern town of Haifa, that has killed at least 41 people and injured many others, rescue officials said.
It is the worst fire in the country's history and assistance is coming from other countries to bring down the blaze.
Local media reported that 36 of the 41 killed were prison guards from Damon jail, a nearby prison, who were caught on their way to rescue inmates from the jail in the fire zone.
After raging for over 24 hours, police and fire-fighters said the blaze is still not under control and was spreading after destroying over 4,000 hectares of land and forcing the evacuation of more than 13,000 people.
Reports say that the fires are spreading southeast wards and could change direction at any moment.
On the other hand the UN secretary-general has offered to mobilise additional international help for Israel in its battle to contain the massive forest fires that have engulfed the country's north.
's announcement comes after Turkey and Greece were among several countries to offer assistance, in response to an urgent appeal by , the Israeli prime minister. (AJZ)