Friday, November 25, 2016

Palestinian Authority joins several countries to help Israel fight out-of-control wildfires

Times of Israel  A team of firefighters from the Palestinian Authority will join Israeli efforts to combat the blazes around the country. So far, seven countries have sent planes, a helicopter and crews to help combat the fires across the country. Some 350 firefighters using 115 vehicles were working to contain the blazes in central and northern Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told journalists. “I want to thank the leaders of Russia, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Cyprus, Turkey, and now France [for their aid]. Another ten planes will arrive before midnight, including two large planes sent by President Putin.”

Netanyahu has also said that the US’s Evergreen Supertanker, the world’s largest firefighting plane, has been purchased from the US to help deal with the fires. The tanker, which is a converted Boeing 747, will arrive in 28 hours.

The PA’s director of civil defense, Maj. Gen. Yousef Nassar, said Thursday evening that fire crews were making final preparations before joining international and Israeli firefighters.

The official said that the PA made contact through the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, and will send fire crews to combat the blazes around the country, according to the official Wafa news agency.

JPost  Arab social media networks on Thursday were rife with inflammatory celebratory reactions in light of the myriad of brush fires that have been blazing across central and northern Israel since Tuesday. “Tel_Aviv_IsBurning” was the most common Arabic hashtag trending on Arab social media platforms on Thursday morning.

“Good luck to the fires. #Israel_IsBurning,” he wrote in an Arabic Twitter post accompanied by a smiling face icon and various photographs of the daily fires across the country.


One of the most proliferous tweets was published by a police officer in Abu Dabi that read “Israel has prevented the amplified calls to prayer, and then it was engulfed in fire.”

In addition, social media networks in Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf emirates were also saturated with posts that indicated that the fires were nature’s retribution over an controversial Israel bill to ban outside loudspeakers from places of worship, such as the likes used in the five-time daily call to prayer by mosques.

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