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Algerian officials launch probe to find arsonists behind 50 ‘horror’ fires as firefighters battle blazes (PHOTOS, VIDEOS) 

Algerian officials launch probe to find arsonists behind 50 ‘horror’ fires as firefighters battle blazes (PHOTOS, VIDEOS) 
Algeria’s government has announced an investigation to identify the “criminal hands” responsible for 50 “horror” fires that destroyed swathes of forest to the east of the country’s capital city and killed more than 20 people.

Speaking on Tuesday, Interior Minister Kamel Beldjoud declared that the government would launch an inquiry to find the “criminal hands” who are “behind the simultaneous outbreak of about 50 fires across several localities of the province.”

The country’s emergency services have been battling to contain the blazes that have destroyed woodland and homes. In a statement posted to Facebook late Tuesday, the country's defense ministry said that 18 military personnel have died tackling the fires. Earlier, Algerian authorities said seven civilians had been killed.

The thick smoke billowing from the fires has caused additional difficulties for firefighters trying to bring them under control.

One resident who fled their home in Azazga village described the situation to Reuters as a “horror night” that resulted in his house being completely burnt to the ground.

So far, around 50 fires have broken out, with smaller blazes raging through forests in at least 14 provinces around the country. The government has promised to compensate individuals who are displaced by the flames.

Also on rt.com Wildfire surrounding Turkish power plant brought under control after evacuation as country continues to battle multiple blazes

The wildfires in Algeria are the latest infernos to plague parts of Africa, Europe and the United States in recent weeks. Turkey has required assistance from the EU and Russia as it contends with 11 days of fires that have required the deployment of more than 5,000 firefighters. Elsewhere, thousands of people in Greece were evacuated from their homes as the country experienced numerous fires amid its worst heatwave in more than 30 years. In the US, officials reported several people missing as devastating wildfires tore through the northern part of California and destroyed a whole town.

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