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Israel Earthquake Team May Work With Iranians

Representatives from the Ministry of Defense that are to arrive in Turkey on Wednesday to provide aid in the wake of a devastating earthquake will be working alongside unlikely partners – the IHH and Iranian rescue teams.

The first Israeli aid convoy that includes seven portable structures, is to depart Wednesday afternoon from Israel to the eastern Turkish area affected by the quake three days ago. The structures are meant to provide refuge to survivors who lost their homes in the natural disaster.

Israel plans to send additional temporary structures in the coming days; however Turkey has refused to accept Israeli assistance in rescuing victims from the wreckage.

Over 2,000 medical personnel and rescue teams have assembled in the capital of the East Turkish Van region and the city of Ercis, in which over 100 houses collapsed. Many of the rescue volunteers are from Turkish non-profit organizations, 200 of which are from the IHH, the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation that is best known in Israel for funding three ships that took part in a flotilla to Gaza in May 2010, one of them being the Mavi Marmara.

Nine IHH members were killed by Israeli commandoes on board the Mavi Marmara after violence broke out when the ship tried to breach Israel’s naval blockade on Gaza. The IHH is considered a terrorist group in Israel because it supports Hamas.

Israeli representatives from the Defense Ministry may also encounter Iranian rescue teams that have flown in to assist with the aftermath of the earthquake.

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