Gantz to Greece: Our Firefighting Teams at Your Disposal

YERUSHALAYIM -
wildfires greece
A firefighting helicopter makes a water drop as a wildfire rage at the Varympompi suburb north of Athens, Greece, Wednesday. (Reuters/Giorgos Moutafis)

Israel has offered emergency assistance to Greece, where firefighters were struggling to cope with a wave of wildfires.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said, “I spoke with Greek Defense Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos in light of the wave of fires that are sweeping the country. The defense minister updated me that in the past few days, more than 80 fires have broken out in Greece.”

Gantz said Panagiotopoulos thanked him for the Israeli offer of support. “If any additional assistance is required — in particular air assistance or rescue personnel — we will be at their disposal,” he said.

Israel has in the past sent firefighting planes and rescue teams to help Greece in similar fire emergencies.

The European Union sent help to Greece and other countries in southeast Europe that are grappling with the huge wildfires after a blaze Tuesday burned more than 100 homes and businesses near the Greek capital of Athens.

Reuters on Wednesday said that “the Mediterranean has become a wildfire hotspot, amid heatwave producing a high risk of further fires and smoke pollution around the region,” quoting a European Union atmosphere monitor.

Thousands of people in Greece and Turkey have been evacuated from their homes, and on Tuesday a fire threatened to reach a coal-fired power plant in Turkey.

Some places in Greece on Tuesday recorded temperatures of over 46 Celsius (115 Fahrenheit).

Italy, Albania, Morocco, Greece, North Macedonia and Lebanon have all faced wildfires since late July.

The European Commission said on Wednesday it had helped mobilize firefighting aircraft, helicopters and firefighters to assist the affected countries.