A massive forest fire sweep northern Israel on Thursday, killing up to 40 people, many of them prison guards who were attentive in a bus trying to flee the flames, safety officials said.
Israeli TV showed pictures of a gutted bus and car that were it seems that engulf by the blaze in the Carmel Forest, near the city of Haifa.
"It's a catastrophe on a scale that we have by no means seen before," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
"We are harnessing all the armed forces of the state to deal with this disaster and set free those who are upset and to stop the fire," he added. He later called on Greece, Italy, Cyprus and Russia to help Israel tackle the blaze.