Russia Sends Aircraft to Battle Israeli Wildfires

Pavel Adzhigildaev / Wikicommons

Two Russian planes have been sent to Israel in a bid to help fight wildfires ravaging the country.

The pair of Beriev BE-200 amphibious aircraft landed in Tel Aviv airport early Friday morning, Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry said in a statement.

The aircraft will be working closely with Israeli authorities to extinguish the flames, a ministry spokesperson said.

Some 60,000 people have evacuated their homes in the Israeli city of Haifa, the Times of Israel reported Thursday. Flames are also threatening homes near Jerusalem and in the West Bank.

The blazes have been blamed on a two-month drought in the country, despite reports suggesting that some fires had been “lit deliberately” and could be “politically motivated.”

The Beriev BE-200 can hold 12,000 liters of water. Production of the craft began in 2003.

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