In a strong show of humanitarian gesture, Turkey, despite its
marred relations with Israel, rushed to help the Jewish state
fight the bushfire being termed as its largest-ever.
The bushfire that has killed 42
people so far raged uncontrollably Friday night,
taunting efforts by exhausted fire teams to battle the blaze as it
threatened areas previously untouched by the flames.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while describing the blaze as "a
catastrophe, the likes of which we have not yet known", had appealed to Russia, Cyprus, Greece and Italy for help in
putting out the fire, which began on the slopes of the Carmel
hill, southeast of Israel's port city of Haifa, and rapidly
Following the appeal, foreign firefighting aircraft began landing at the Ramat Aviv
military airport in northern Israel, with two planes from Greece
and Bulgaria already on the ground. Around 20 more from other
countries including Turkey, Cyprus and Spain were expected to join
throughout the day.
Four Greek planes and a Hercules cargo plane from Bulgaria with
some 150 firefighters on board joined the effort. Countries such
as Turkey and Cyprus sent around 20 planes and helicopters and
other equipment arrived Friday.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israel Radio that Israel
had turned to Germany for help, which in turn had asked Turkey for
assistance, prompting Ankara to send two planes - despite its
marred relations with Israel.
Turkey-Israeli relations soared
after Israeli military attacked earlier this year an aid flotilla
that was sent to Gaza to help the people suffering due to the