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Last Updated: Friday December 03 2010 18:16 GMT

Israel forest fire raging near northern city of Haifa

An Israeli firefighter tries to extinguish raging fire in Beit Oren, Carmel Forest, near Israel's northern city of Haifa

A huge forest fire is raging on Mount Carmel, near the northern city of Haifa, in Israel.

A fire-fighting plane flies over a forest fire that broke out in the kibbutz of Beit Oren in the north of Israel

At least 40 people have died, several have been injured, and thousands more have been moved to safety as fire crews battle to contain the blaze.

A fire that broke out in the Carmel Forest near the northern Israeli city of Haifa is seen in this aerial view

Smoke from the fire can be seen for miles and Israel has appealed for help from Italy, Cyprus and Russia to help fight the flames.

An Israeli firefighter plane helps to extinguish raging fire in the Carmel Forest, near Israel's northern city of Haifa

Greece, which had its own wildfires in 2007, has sent a team of experts, while the UK has sent an RAF helicopter with firefighting equipment.

An Israeli firefighter plane helps to extinguish raging fire in the Carmel Forest, near Israel's northern city of Haifa

The cause of the fire is not yet known, but it's believed to be the largest in the country's history.