Israel sent a 150-person military aid mission to Turkey on Monday after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake and its 7.5 aftershock hit the country, killing approximately 3,000 people.
“Some 150 rescue experts are prepared to leave for Turkey in the next few hours,” Col. Golan Vach, commander of the IDF National Rescue Unit, said. “Of these, a third are headquarters and intelligence, and two-thirds have rescue, medical, and engineering capabilities.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, “at the request of the Turkish government, I have instructed all authorities to make immediate preparations to provide medical, and search and rescue assistance.”
“The foreign and defense ministers have already been in contact with their counterparts and we will — in the coming hours — agree on the dispatching of a delegation as soon as possible,” Netanyahu continued. “This is what we do around the world, and this is what we do in areas close to us.
“Since a request was also received to do this — for the many who were injured in the earthquake in Syria — I have instructed that this be done as well.”
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu informed Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen that Turkey would “welcome the Israeli aid.”
The operation, called “Olive Branches,” had two Israeli search-and-rescue teams sent to Turkey on Monday, while a second flight containing the full IDF medical and rescue teams was planned.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant approved the IDF building a field hospital in Turkey.
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