December 3, 2010 by staff
The fire engulfed a forest near the city of Haifa in northern Israel, killing 40 people; prison guards most of them aboard a bus that was trapped in hell, the worst in Israel’s history of 62 years.
“I want to begin by offering our most sincere condolences to the families, relatives of those who died,” Obama told about 500 guests at a Hanukkah candle-lit ceremony at the White House.
“As rescuers, firefighters continue their work, the United States acts to help our Israeli friends in times of disaster,” he said, adding that the government was looking into this type of assistance it could provide.
Israeli Fire Department has launched an urgent call up all the 1500 firefighters in the country, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has launched an urgent appeal for international help to contain the fire.
Offers poured in, with Greece pledging to send four bombers, Cyprus offers a helicopter and another aircraft fight against fires, and Bulgaria would send 90 firefighters.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel said he had also received pledges of help from Romania, Azerbaijan, France, Russia, Croatia and Turkey.
Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.
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