The Israel Fire and Rescue Authority (IFA) is preparing to deploy a 50,200-strong firefighting team across the West Bank in an attempt to quell a massive blaze that engulfed several hundred homes and businesses.
The fire has caused significant damage to property and caused the closure of roads in the area, including the Erez crossing between the occupied West Bank and the Israeli-controlled Palestinian territory.
In a statement late Wednesday, IFA said it would be deploying the firefighting teams, along with other emergency services personnel, on Wednesday evening.
The move comes as the fire is burning in the Gaza Strip, which has been severely hit by Israel’s devastating military offensive.
The IFA, which is responsible for maintaining and restoring the health of Israel’s population, said in a statement Wednesday night that the number of fatalities was expected to be around 80, with about 200 people confirmed dead.
The statement did not specify how many people were injured.
In recent days, Palestinians have been burning tires, destroying buildings, and throwing stones and petrol bombs at Israeli troops.
Earlier this week, the fire department said that there were no reported injuries from the fire.
Earlier Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the army to “get to the root of the issue” and immediately ordered an evacuation of the entire occupied West Wall.
“There is a clear danger that the fire will spread, that it will be a major disaster,” Netanyahu told Army Radio on Tuesday.
“We must do everything to get rid of this fire.
I have instructed the military to get to the bottom of this matter immediately.
We are going to do everything that we can.””
There will be no room for any other action in our country,” he added.
Firefighters from the Israel Fire Brigade responded to the fire at the site of a construction site, and the fire quickly spread to several other homes and apartments.
As flames were raging, the IFA reported that a number of people were hospitalized.
The IFA did not provide further details.
The Palestinian death toll has been reported as 40, including at least four children, and there have been scores of injuries, including burns and cuts.
Israel’s military operation in Gaza, which began in the summer of 2014, has left hundreds of Palestinians dead and nearly 700 injured.
The Palestinian death rate in Gaza has been rising.
Israel says the fire was deliberately set by Hamas and is being blamed for sparking the latest round of violence.
Hamas has repeatedly denied responsibility.