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Morsi, let us spray

Negev Regional Council asks Egyptian president to let Israeli aircraft fly over Sinai to release locust pesticides

Agriculture Ministry workers armed with pesticides have distributed both aerial and ground sprays in areas where millions of locusts descended upon southern Israel, beginning March 6 2013. (Photo credit: Dror Garti/Flash90)
Agriculture Ministry workers armed with pesticides have distributed both aerial and ground sprays in areas where millions of locusts descended upon southern Israel, beginning March 6 2013. (Photo credit: Dror Garti/Flash90)

The Ramat Negev Regional Council in southern Israel sent a letter to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Sunday, requesting permission for Israeli crop-dusters to fly over the Sinai region in an effort to combat the recent locust swarm that engulfed Egypt and infested some parts of Israel beginning last week.

The letter was written in Arabic and was handed to the Egyptian Embassy in Israel before being delivered to the office of the president, according to Israeli news site Nana10.

Shmulik Ripman, the head of the council, said he also turned to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, asking him to advance cooperation between the two countries on the issue.

The Israeli Agriculture Ministry released a statement on Sunday saying a new swarm of locusts has crossed over from Egypt’s Sinai into Israel, and has been spotted in Be’er Milka, a moshav near the border.

Ministry officials fear southern winds could send additional swarms of locusts into Israel starting Monday and they are looking to prevent extra infestation.

Israel has been taking proactive measures to combat the “locuspocalypse,” spraying vast areas in the south of the country under the directives of the Agriculture Ministry.

The ministry said the preemptive measures staved off the damage the locusts could have potentially caused to crops in the south.

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