Cyprus Mail

Israel thanks Cyprus for firefighting help

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

Israeli authorities have expressed their deep gratitude for Cyprus’ help in extinguishing the wildfires raging in the country over the last few days, which were placed under control on Sunday, the Cyprus civil defence’s Olivia Michaelidou told the Cyprus News Agency.

Cyprus’ contribution to the fire-fighting effort included comprised 45 firemen, 24 civil-defence rescuers, and a firefighting aircraft.

“The Cypriot mission took part in some incidents even on Sunday morning, jointly with Israeli teams,” she said.

Tens of individual fires raged since last week in Haifa and the West Bank, causing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes.

Damage in Haifa alone, Israeli authorities said, ran up to an estimated total of $120 million, with almost 600 homes completely destroyed.

A total 21 aircraft, both Israeli and international, as well as an American tanker, were engaged in the firefighting effort.

Israeli police announced the arrest of 23 individuals as arson suspects, but disclosed no further details.

Authorities said they believe the suspicious fires to be linked with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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