Diplomacy

IDF Sends Troops to Help Jordan with Rescue Efforts after Deadly Flood

Members of the IDF’s elite 699 search-and-rescue unit arrived in Jordan, at the request of the government, to help in rescue efforts after Jordan was hit with a flash flood that swept away a school bus, leaving 17 dead and others injured, The Times of Israel reported Thursday.

Heavy rains caused a flash flood in Jordan, sweeping away a school bus with 37 students and seven chaperones. 17 of the passengers – mostly children – are reported dead, and another 22 are reported injured in the incident.

“In light of a request from the Jordanian government, a number of air force helicopters with 669 soldiers, led by the commander of the unit, were dispatched,” an IDF statement read.

“At this time, the soldiers are assisting in the search and rescue efforts for the missing and are doing all they can, despite the weather conditions, to assist the survivors in the flood area,” the army added.

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In addition, Unit 669 sent several helicopters to aid in the rescue efforts.

The Israeli Police also sent a contingent of search-and-rescue and medical specialists to Jordan, as did United Hatzalah, the Israeli aid organization.

Unit 669, the Times explained, "performs search and rescue operations in both military and civilian conditions — extracting wounded soldiers from war zones and transporting car crash victims to hospitals."

Despite the recent decision by the government of Jordan to end the lease of lands to Israel that were specified in the nations' 1994 peace treaty, Avi Issacharoff assessed in The Times of Israel, "When it comes to security, the cooperation between the countries can be described as between ‘excellent’ and ‘exceptional’ — a relationship that is carefully kept below the radar.”

[Photo: Israel Defense Forces / Flickr ]