Twenty-one Palestinian firefighters arrived at the Mount Carmel region on Sunday to assist Israel in its battle against the huge wildfire which has claimed the lives of 41 people.
"I've dreamed of visiting Haifa for a long time," Ibrahim Ayash, the head of the Palestinian rescue team told Ynet, "But unfortunately I came at a very sad time."
'Humanitarian gesture.' Palestinian firefighters in Israel (Photo: AFP)
The Palestinian firefighters entered Israel through the Salem crossing. They were accompanied by Civil Administration personnel. "We arrived in Haifa two hours ago, and we are supposed to help extinguish the fire that has spread in the Carmel Forest," Ayash said. "I consider our assistance a humanitarian gesture."
According to Ayash, the Palestinian people viewed the disaster with a great deal of sorrow.
He said the cooperation has nothing to do with the relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. "We came here to help without addressing the issue of Jews and Arabs," Ayash added. "We will stay in the Carmel region until the fire is put out."
The Palestinians joined hundreds of firefighters who have been battling the fire since it erupted on Thursday.
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