Photo Credit: Flash90
A firefighting plane attempting to extinguish a forest blaze near Mevo Beitar, October 24, 2020.

Israel is dispatching firefighting planes to Cyprus to help is contend with the mass blazes in the country.

Massive fires are raging north of the cities of Limassol and Larnaca and have affected at least six communities in the foothills of the Troodos mountain range.

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Cyprus has called for aid, and Israel and the European Union have responded to the call.

The Prime Minister’s Office stated Saturday night that “based on Israel’s close ties with Cyprus, with emphasis on mutual assistance in times of emergency,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett approved the dispatch of two firefighting planes and flame retardant material.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid spoke with his counterpart, Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, and said that Israel would “do everything it could to assist Cyprus in gaining control of the events.”

“Cyprus and Israel share a history of standing by each other, in solidarity, at times of hardship. Sincere thanks to the Israeli government for its response for aerial assistance in combating the fires,” stated Christodoulides.

Based on the existing cooperation agreement between the two countries’ fire and rescue services, Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev and Fire and Rescue Commissioner Dedy Simhi considered the possibilities for assistance. Accordingly, planes from the National Fire and Rescue Authority squadron will leave Sunday to assist the Cypriot and international forces in their efforts to extinguish the fires.

Israel has previously dispatched firefighting aid to Cyprus and other European countries, and at time of need, Cyprus and other countries have helped Israel contend with theirs.

Israel, Greece and Cyprus have conducted joint firefighting exercises.

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