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Cyprus sends more firefighters to Israel

A firefighting plane drops fire retardant during wildfire over the northern city of Haifa

Cyprus sent more reinforcements to Israel to assist in the fire-fighting as flames spread across Haifa and other parts of the country on Saturday.

According to the civil defence spokeswoman Olivia Michaelidou a team of 28 firemen, 24 civil defence rescuers and 17 forest rangers departed on Saturday morning for Israel to help put out the fires raging in the country the last few days.

The fire service said that the Cypriot team departed at 5.30am from the Andreas Papandreou airbase in Paphos for Israel.

“Our mission is already in Israel and began operations immediately after their arrival in residential areas of the cities of Haifa and Hadera,” the fire service said.

Cyprus had also sent on Thursday two pilots and four support crew in a forestry department aircraft – type Air Tractor – following a request by the Israeli authorities.

The fires in Israel that have been burning in multiple locations since Tuesday intensified on Thursday due to the dry weather and strong winds.

Israel sent four aircraft in June to help put out the fire in Argaka in Paphos and remained on the island as another fire erupted in the Solea area that raged for five days destroying 10km² of forest and resulted in the death of two firemen.

For the fires in Israel, assistance was also offered by Greece, Croatia, Turkey and Russia.

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