Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the dispatch of firefighting aircraft from Israel to assist in efforts to extinguish a major fire near Paphos, Cyprus.
The out-of-control wildfire – said to be the island country’s biggest in years – had burned five square kilometers of wild vegetation, hay and pine forest on Saturday, according to Cyprus news sources.
Cyprus asked Israel for emergency assistance.
The regional cooperation between Israel and Cyprus includes an agreement to provide aid in times of emergency. During Israel’s fire on Mt. Carmel in 2010, Cyprus was one of the first countries to send firefighting aircraft.
“Several years ago, during the massive Carmel fire, I contacted the President of Cyprus, he was the first I turned to, and the Prime Minister of Greece, that they should send firefighting aircraft. They had one such aircraft. They took it out of its hangar and sent it here. Last night I ordered that three of our firefighting aircraft, out of our fleet of 13 or 14, be sent to help them, and the planes are now in Cyprus. This is part of the regional arrangement we have made with Cyprus and Greece about emergency assistance. I am pleased that we are able to extend this assistance,” Netanyahu told his Sunday Cabinet meeting.
— Israel Foreign Min. (@IsraelMFA) June 19, 2016