Lieberman: Foreign aid expected
Photo: AP

Lieberman: Gov't knew of plane shortage

'Issue of firefighting planes was discussed, but nothing moves here until disaster strikes,' says FM

Israel knew there was a shortage of firefighting planes, according to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who added that the issue would be taken up by Friday morning's Cabinet meeting.


"There is no doubt we are dealing with a disaster the likes of which we have never known," Lieberman told Israel Radio. "The issue of firefighting planes was discussed a number of times… It's been spoken about but here nothing moves until a disaster occurs," he said.



"There is no doubt that we should have bought large planes without waiting for this alarm to go off… the damage done is now far more than the price of the most expensive plane in the world, and when referring to human life then of course the issue of cost is irrelevant."


The minister added that Israel was in need of planes because the Carmel Forest's slopes are difficult to handle with trucks. Most of the foreign aid is expected to arrive in Israel by noon, he added.


"We opened a situation room yesterday afternoon and are currently in contact with the entire world. We have also connected the prime minister to other world leaders," he said.


Lieberman said that in the meantime the foreign aid that has arrived in Israel includes a plane from Bulgaria with 100 firefighters, three trucks from Jordan with a party of nine, and a plane from Greece. Two British helicopters are expected to arrive later from Cyrus, along with a Cypriot plane and chopper, and three more Greek planes.


Perhaps surprisingly, Lieberman is also expecting two Turkish planes. "We have to thank the Germans for their initiative. We spoke to them and they said they didn't have firefighting planes, but they knew the Turks did. They appealed to Turkey and spoke to the prime minister's office," Lieberman said.


He added that Russia would send "the world's largest firefighting plane, the Antonov". In addition, he said, El Al was bringing a special extinguishing fluid from France.


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פרסום ראשון: 12.03.10, 09:19
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