Palestinian firefighters train at Israeli academy
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Palestinian firefighters train at Israeli academy

Drill aims at teaching new skills to deal with fires and rescue operations; PA Civil Defense chief meets his Israeli counterpart

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Palestinian Authority firefighters training at an Israeli fire academy on November 5, 2019 in Rishon Lezion. (Credit: COGAT)
Palestinian Authority firefighters training at an Israeli fire academy on November 5, 2019 in Rishon Lezion. (Credit: COGAT)

Palestinian firefighters trained at an Israeli fire academy in central Israel on Tuesday.

The firefighters took part in “scenarios that simulate real-life situations” at the Israel Fire and Rescue Academy in Rishon Letzion and learned “new methods to deal with fires in buildings and cars and ways to quickly rescue injured persons in blocked areas,” the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the Defense Ministry branch responsible for liaising with the Palestinians, said in a statement.

COGAT also announced that Palestinian Authority Civil Defense chief Yousef Nassar met on Sunday with Israel Fire and Rescue Services head Dedi Simchi at the latter’s office.

Some 20 Palestinian and Israeli firefighters took part in the activity on Tuesday, an Israeli security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said in a phone call.

Palestinian and Israeli firefighters recently have participated in joint activities on multiple occasions, the official stated.

Palestinian firefighters from the West Bank city of Jenin arrive to help extinguish a fire in the northern Israeli city of Haifa following a wildfire, on November 25, 2016. (AFP/JACK GUEZ)

In recent years, Palestinian firefighters have come to help Israel battle major fires, including the devastating 2016 fires that either destroyed or damaged homes in Haifa and the Jerusalem foothills.

The statement quoted an official in the Defense Ministry as saying that the Palestinian and Israeli firefighters will continue to “take action to strengthen and improve [cooperation], with the clear goal of saving lives together.”

The meeting between Nassar and Simchi dealt with “future cooperative activities” and “innovations in the field of firefighting,” COGAT said.

PA Civil Defense chief Yousef Nassar meeting with Israel Fire and Rescue Services head Dedi Simchi at the latter’s office on November 4, 2019. (Credit: COGAT)
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