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February 12, 2023 11:09 am
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Israel’s Rescue Delegation Ends Mission in Turkey Due to Security Threats

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avatar by i24 News

United Hatzalah volunteers. Photo: United Hatzalah.

i24 NewsIsrael’s rescue mission United Hatzalah that was deployed to quake-hit Turkey announced on Sunday that it’s ending its operations and returning to Israel urgently after serious security concerns.

The decision was made on Saturday evening, after an assessment of the situation conducted by heads of the Israeli army’s (IDF) Home Front Command, search and rescue units, United Hatzalah Director Eli Pollack and Vice President of Operations Dov Maisel.

The team quickly packed up their gear and made hasty arrangements to return to Israel as soon as possible. Due to the lack of available planes, Dr. Miriam Adelson donated her private jet to fly the team back to Israel on Sunday morning.

“Due to a significant security threat on the Israeli rescue and relief mission in Turkey, United Hatzalah’s rescue mission will be ending and our team will return to Israel as soon as possible,” the mission said in a statement on Twitter.

Maisel said the delegation was aware “there was a certain level of risk in sending our team to this area of ​​Turkey, close to the Syrian border, but we have taken the necessary steps to mitigate the threat in the interest of our rescue mission.”

“Unfortunately, we have just received reports of a concrete and immediate threat to the Israeli delegation and we must prioritize the safety of our staff. We are extremely proud of what our team has accomplished in a few days, participating in the rescue of 15 people in cooperation with the IDF’s Home Front Command, Israeli search and rescue units, local rescue forces and the Turkish Red Crescent,” he added.

The United Hatzalah team took part in the Israeli relief operations in Turkey after the powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the country and neighboring Syria last week. The delegation rescued 19 civilians from the rubble and treated around 180 injured in its field hospital in Kahramanmaraş, the town at the epicenter of the earthquake.

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