Israel offers Pakistan earthquake assistance

Israel offers Pakistan assistance in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake.

pakistan quake body 298  (photo credit: AP)
pakistan quake body 298
(photo credit: AP)
Israel has offered Pakistan assistance in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake, Israeli officials said Sunday, in the latest sign that relations between the countries are warming. Israel and Pakistan -- the world's second-largest Muslim country -- have no official relations, but the two countries' foreign ministers met last month for the first time. Allowing Israelis into Pakistan to assist in the rescue efforts would be a breakthrough. "We've expressed a desire to help, and we're hopeful that it will be possible to help," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev. Saturday's magnitude-7.6 earthquake, Pakistan's worst on record, killed between 20,000 and 30,000 people, Pakistani officials have estimated. Several hundred others were killed on the Indian side of the disputed Kashmir border region. Israel, which has sent rescue teams to Turkey and Mexico to assist in evacuation efforts after earthquakes struck those countries, sent a message to Pakistan through "official channels" and the United Nations, said a senior government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because Pakistan has yet to respond to the offer.