The IDF sent three military firefighting planes and a cargo plane together with personnel to Cyprus on Sunday morning, to help combat raging fires in the Cypriot city of Paphos.
In line with a government decision, the IDF said it would assist the Cypriot authorities wherever possible in dousing the flames. According to the Cyprus Mail, this is the biggest fire Cyprus has seen in recent years, with strong winds making it difficult to bring the fire under control.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained the decision at Sunday's cabinet meeting, saying that during the Carmel Fire in 2010, a fire that killed 44 people and burned over 50,000 dunams, , the first person he contacted abroad for assistance was then president of Cyprus Demetris Christofias, and asked Cyprus to send firefighting aircraft to Israel to help battle the blaze.
“They had one such aircraft,” he said. “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.”