Israel offers help to Ethiopia after 149 killed in air crash
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Israel offers help to Ethiopia after 149 killed in air crash

Search and rescue team from the Jewish state sent to African country after disaster, as PM Netanyahu says if there's 'anything we can do we are ready to do it'

ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav gives the Israel team a final briefing before they depart for Ethiopia. Credit: ZAKA
ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav gives the Israel team a final briefing before they depart for Ethiopia. Credit: ZAKA

Israel has offered its assistance to the Ethiopian government following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight carrying 149 passengers and eight crew members.

Two Israelis, seven Brits and eight Americans were among the passengers on the plane that crashed six minutes after takeoff on Sunday morning. There were no survivors. The dead were of at least 32 different nationalities, according to reports.

The Boeing 737 was en route to Nairobi, Kenya.

The cause of the crash has not been identified. But the CEO of the airline, who visited the crash site, told reporters that the pilot sent out a distress call and was given clearance to return.

“I would like to send condolences to the government and people of Ethiopia, and to the families of the victims who perished in the plane crash,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday morning.

“If there is anything we can do, we are – of course – ready to do it. We have also said this to the Ethiopian government.”

Some 100,000 Israelis travelled on Ethiopian Airlines last year, mostly to India and the Far East, Israel’s Kan broadcaster reported.

An official delegation was sent by Israel, with the personal approval of the Prime Minister, consisting of two teams of ZAKA search and rescue volunteers from Israel and South Africa.

They were sent to locate the remains of the two Israelis who perished in the tragedy and to ensure a full Jewish burial.

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