42 People Killed in Algerian Wildfires

Forty-two people, including 25 soldiers, have died in wildfires in the Kabylie region in Algeria, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said on Aug. 10.

“With great sadness and sorrow, I received the news of the martyrdom of 25 members of the People’s National Army, after they succeeded in rescuing more than one hundred citizens from the blazing fires, in the mountains of Bejaia and Tizi Ouzou,” Benabderrahmane said on Twitter.

According to the defense ministry, the soldiers “saved 110 people — men, women, and children — from the flames” that erupted in the forested hills to the east of the capital Algiers.

The defense ministry also said that other soldiers had serious burns.

The interior ministry earlier said that the fires had killed at least seven civilians. The death toll rose to 17 civilians.

Interior Minister Kamel Beldjoud traveled to Kabylie to assess the situation and told reporters that “criminals” were behind the fires that broke out in Tizi Ouzou, one of the most populous cities in the region.

“Only criminal hands can be behind 50 fires breaking out at the same time in various parts of the province,” Beldjoud said.

Three “arsonists” had been arrested in the northern district of Medea and another in Annaba, state radio reported.

Algeria Press Service reported that over 100 fires broke out on Aug. 9 across 17 provinces in the North African country that is also facing severe water shortages.

Meteorologists forecast that the temperature would reach up to 46 degrees Celsius for Aug. 10 and 11.

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