Cyprus asks EU, Israel for help fighting huge forest fire

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus has asked fellow European Union nations to help battle a huge forest fire in a mountainous region of the east Mediterranean island nation that has forced the evacuation of at least seven villages. Cypriot Environment Minister Costas Kadis told state broadcaster Saturday that the fire has claimed “huge tracts of forest” and private property near the village of Arakapas in the Troodos mountain range.  News reports showed homes going up in flames and massive plumes of brown smoke blotting out the sun. A Cyprus government spokesman said Greece has sent two firefighting planes, Israel is also dispatching two aircraft while four more have been requested through the EU.