Yulia Karra
July 20, 2023

Israel recently announced it will dispatch at least two firefighting aircraft to Greece to assist the country in battling massive wildfires that have engulfed it following days of extreme weather.

Greece has reported massive fires in at least two areas of the country amid a heatwave that has prompted the government to issue a health warning and shut down several tourist attractions, including the Acropolis in Athens. Greek meteorological services expect the weather in some areas of the country to reach 46 degrees Celsius in the coming days.

The planes were scheduled to depart early Thursday and return sometime on Sunday. The move was confirmed by a joint statement from the National Security Ministry, Fire and Rescue Services and Israel Police.

The Prime Minister’s Office said the move came following a request from the Greek government and consultations with the national security, defense and foreign ministers.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said the Israeli team, which includes pilots and fire experts, is “prepared for any scenario.”

“The firefighting team will join the forces already on the ground. The fast-tracked preparation of the teams was made possible thanks to the cooperation of all the parties.”

The aid is part of a years-long cooperation effort between the two countries. “The government of Israel will stand by Greece as it fights the huge wildfires and appreciates Greece’s contribution to extinguishing wildfires in Israel over the past decade,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

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Jason Harris

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