A special firefighting aid mission departed Monday for Cyprus in response to a personal request from Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, asking for immediate assistance in extinguishing raging wildfires in Limassol.
Israel has a close bilateral relationship with Cyprus.
The relief mission, led by the National Security Ministry, departed with fire crews and firefighting aircraft under the command of the Israel Police Air Division, in cooperation with the Israel Fire and Rescue Authority and the IDF.
The crews and the equipment were transported by IDF Shimshon aircraft, which will assist in extinguishing the huge fires that are raging in Cyprus as a result of extreme weather, which includes a heat wave, strong winds and high temperatures.
The mission, under the command of Snir Shafir, includes two ‘Air-Tractor’ firefighting aircraft, a crew of four pilots, a trained ground crew, wildfire experts, and equipment including approximately six tons of Israel Fire and Rescue Service flame retardants.
The aircraft and the crews departed Monday afternoon to join the ongoing firefighting operation.
Approximately two weeks ago, an earlier mission returned from Operation Firebirds, in which Israel assisted Greece in extinguishing huge wildfires in several regions.
“The rapid deployment of the Israeli mission to Cyprus was made possible by the cooperation of all agencies taking part in the assistance operation,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in its statement. The participating agencies included: The National Security Council in the Prime Minister’s Office, the National Security Ministry, the Israel Fire and Rescue Authority, the Israel Police Air Division – which operates the Elbit firefighting aircraft, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Population and Immigration Authority, the National Emergency Management Authority, the Defense Ministry, Israeli Ambassador to Cyprus Oren Anolik and the Israeli Embassy in Cyprus.