Israel will send two 'Elad' firefighting aircraft to aid in international efforts to control recent wildfires in Greece, the Prime Minister's Office announced on Wednesday. This was confirmed by a joint statement of the National Security Ministry, Israel Fire and Rescue Services, and Israel Police.
Scheduled to depart from Israel to Athens early Thursday morning, these aircraft will be on a mission to assist in extinguishing the massive fires raging in two different areas in Greece. The fires have been particularly aggressive due to extreme weather conditions including a significant heatwave, strong winds, and temperatures with potential to reach 46 degrees Celsius in some areas.
In addition to the two 'Elad' firefighting aircraft from the aerial firefighting squadron, Israel's assistance comprises a team of four pilots, skilled ground personnel—including forest fire experts—and essential accompanying equipment. An Israeli air force transport aircraft will accompany the firefighting planes to ensure logistical support.
The extinguishing operations will begin with the teams' arrival in Greece no later than 14:00, with the estimated return date being the coming Sunday.
Longstanding reciprocal cooperation between Israel and Greece
The assistance provided by the National Security Ministry and Israel Fire and Rescue Services is part of a longstanding reciprocal cooperation between Israel and Greece.
The statement from the Prime Minister's Office emphasized the nation's commitment to "stand by Greece in combating massive wildfires," and gratefully acknowledged "Greece's aid given in recent wildfire incidents in Israel."
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir has also highlighted Israel's readiness to aid Greece, stating that, "In coordination with the Prime Minister's office, I ordered the dispatch of the firefighting planes, which these days are prepared for any scenario.
"The extinguishing operations of the teams will join the local extinguishing forces. The quick preparedness of the teams was made possible thanks to the cooperation of all the partners".
The Prime Minister's office, the National Security Ministry, Israel's Fire and Rescue services, the Israel Police's Aerial Unit, the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the National Emergency Authority, Israel's ambassador, and the Greek Embassy are all partners in the assistance operations.