Wildfires in central Israel have spread to the occupied West Bank as the blaze continued to rage for the fifth day.

Israeli and Palestinian firefighters – assisted by aircraft from Russia, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Croatia and Cyprus – continued to fight the flames, which saw thousands of people evacuated from their homes and dozens arrested for arson.

IN PICTURES: Foreign planes and Palestinian firefighters help Israel tackle wildfires

However, the fires, which started Tuesday (22 November) in areas such as Nataf and Beit Meir, west of Jerusalem, have spread eastwards towards settler-occupied territories.

Around 1,000 residents had to leave the Halamish settlement near the Palestinian city of Ramallah as 45 homes were damaged or destroyed by fire, a police spokeswoman told AFP.

Fire also broke out near the West Bank settlements of Dolev, Alfei Menashe and Karnei Shomron although there were no evacuations there.

A newly arrived US super tanker, considered the largest firefighting aircraft in the world, was due to join the emergency operation on Saturday (26 November).

The worst of the fires in Haifa, Israel's third-biggest city located in the north, where 110 buildings were damaged caused an estimated 80,000 people to be evacuated from their homes.

However, many have started to return as firefighters quelled the blazes, though a number of small fires continued overnight.

No deaths have been reported so far, however some serious injuries were sustained after a four-storey apartment in Ma'ale Adumim, near Jerusalem, caught fire.

A first responder told Haaretz: "We saw an apartment building filled with thick smoke, but entering the hallway was impossible, and people were screaming for help.

"The firefighters arrived with a crane and ladders and evacuated people suffering from exposure to smoke to our care. A young man and young woman in their 20s were unconscious, and we administered life-saving medical treatment, which included CPR. We evacuated them to the hospital for further treatment in serious condition, sedated and ventilated.

"Ten additional residents, who inhaled smoke, were also treated by our teams, among them a baby of about four months and two teenagers of about 16, who injured themselves, while escaping the heavy smoke."

The blazes were exacerbated by hot, dry and windy weather, however Israeli security forces have blamed Israeli Arab and Palestinian actions for the destruction.

Twenty-two people arrested on arson-related charges, however eight have already been released.

Israel fires
A Russian firefighting plane helps extinguish a new blaze that broke out in the Israeli town of Nataf, along the border with the occupied West Bank Ahmad Gharabli/AFP