Israeli Fire and Rescue's firefighting plane dropping a fire retardant over the massive fire near the villages of Shoresh and Sho'eva. Jerusalem, Aug 3, 2021. (Shalev Shalom/TPS) (Shalev Shalom/TPS)
Fire in Jerusalem Region

Israel, Cyprus, and Greece have signed a cooperation agreement in 2016 to build a wide-ranging system of emergency cooperation between the countries, including firefighting and handling of natural disasters.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

Israel is dispatching two firefighting planes to nearby Cyprus to help the country fight the blazes which have been ravaging the north of the island.

Large fires have been burning between the villages of Flamoudi and Ardana and in the area of Turkish-occupied Kantara since Tuesday, spread by strong winds.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, and Minister of Public Security Omer Barlev ordered the dispatching of two firefighting planes and an equipment plane to Cyprus on Thursday to help Cypriot firefighters cope with the raging fires.

The decision to send the firefighting planes was made following a request from the Cypriot government. The Israeli Embassy in Nicosia, headed by Ambassador Oren Anolik, is coordinating, in cooperation with Israel’s National Security Council and the IDF, the arrival of the Israeli firefighting in Cyprus and their activities with the local fire brigades.

Israel, Cyprus, and Greece have signed a cooperation agreement in 2016 to build a wide-ranging system of emergency cooperation between the countries, including firefighting and handling of natural disasters.

Last year, Cyprus offered assistance to Israel in dealing with the fires that raged in the Jerusalem Mountains. Israeli teams have previously been dispatched to aid Cyprus and Greece in fighting fires. The fire brigades of the three countries train together periodically.

Israel in recent years has fostered its ties with Cyprus and Greece, especially on the issue of energy. The three countries have established an alliance to counter Turkey. Greece and Cyprus are historic adversaries of Turkey.