Israel sends firefighting planes to help douse Cyprus blaze

June 18, 2016  

Israel said Saturday it was sending firefighting planes to a blaze in Cyprus, returning the neighboring island’s helping hand when the Jewish state suffered a devastating forest fire in 2010.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered that firefighting planes be sent to Cyprus to help put out a giant fire that is raging in Paphos,” on the island’s west coast, Netanyahu’s office said.

It said the decision followed a formal request from the Cyprus government.

“At the time of the Carmel fire, Cyprus was the first country to send a firefighting plane” to Israel, the office said in a statement, referring to the 2010 fire which raged through the Carmel forest near Haifa in northern Israel for four days and killed 44 people.

After destroying millions of trees and hundreds of homes, the Carmel blaze was finally brought under control with the help of planes and personnel from more than 16 countries, including Cyprus, the United States, Greece, Britain, Turkey, Russia and France.

The Cyprus Mail newspaper reported Saturday that no residential areas were threatened by the blaze in the Argaka area of Paphos fanned by strong winds and scorchingly high temperatures.

AFP contributed to this report

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