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Israel completes firefighting mission in Greece

Emergency response planes operated under temperatures exceeding 45 degrees Celsius.

Israeli emergency response teams complete their firefighting mission in Greece, where planes operated under extreme temperatures exceeding 45 degrees Celsius, Jul7 23, 2023. Credit: Israel Police Spokesperson’s Unit.
Israeli emergency response teams complete their firefighting mission in Greece, where planes operated under extreme temperatures exceeding 45 degrees Celsius, Jul7 23, 2023. Credit: Israel Police Spokesperson’s Unit.

Israeli emergency response teams on Sunday completed their firefighting mission in Greece, where Israeli firefighting planes operated under extreme temperatures, exceeding 45 degrees Celsius.

A festive closing ceremony was attended by the Israeli ambassador and other dignitaries.

Over two days, the Israeli aircraft conducted numerous sorties in coordination with Greek counterparts, dropping substantial quantities of water on raging blazes.

“The Israeli team successfully completed the mission, and the operational and professional cooperation enabled us to meet tight schedules,” said Israel Police Air Division Superintendent Chaim Bar-Gil, who served as the mission commander.

“Our primary focus was to suppress the fires, preventing further outbreaks, and despite challenging weather conditions, we achieved our goal. We worked in coordination with local and international teams, and with the situation under control, we agreed with the Greeks on concluding the operation in the region. With the planes’ return, we are now in operational readiness to quickly respond to expected fires in Israel due to the significant rise in temperatures during the week,” added Bar-Gil.

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said: “The firefighting planes of the ‘Elad’ squadron operated with great professionalism and completed the operational activity. The pilots and ground crews of the Fire and Rescue Services and the Israel Police have enabled the State of Israel to assist Greece during critical times.”

Israeli Ambassador to Greece Noam Katz noted that the fires had caused severe damage, mainly to forests and buildings.

“The fires in Attica have calmed down, but a severe fire is still raging on Rhodes, and the Greeks and international forces are operating there,” he said.

“The Greeks express gratitude for Israeli assistance, and tomorrow morning a closing ceremony will be held before the teams return to Israel. The team’s activity contributed to the friendly relations between the two countries, and soon, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to meet with his Greek counterpart in Cyprus,” added Katz.

The relief mission, led by the National Security Ministry in coordination with the Israel Police Air Division and in collaboration with Fire and Rescue Services, includes a team of four pilots, skilled ground crews, wildfire experts and accompanying equipment.

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