US envoy visits American, Israeli firefighters battling arson attacks from Gaza
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US envoy visits American, Israeli firefighters battling arson attacks from Gaza

David Friedman's trip to Sderot comes as rescue services battle four blazes caused by incendiary balloons from the Strip

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, left, and Israeli Fire and Rescue Services Commissioner Dedi Simhi meeting at Sderot's fire station, August 1, 2018. (Avida Landau/US Embassy in Israel)
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, left, and Israeli Fire and Rescue Services Commissioner Dedi Simhi meeting at Sderot's fire station, August 1, 2018. (Avida Landau/US Embassy in Israel)

The US ambassador to Israel visited the Gaza border area on Wednesday to meet with Israeli and American firefighters jointly battling the daily blazes in the region caused by incendiary kites and balloons launched from the Gaza Strip.

The visit came as local firefighters battled four fires started by incendiary balloons near Israeli communities in the area.

Ten American firefighters are volunteering with the rescue services in the south through the Emergency Volunteers Project, a group that sends American volunteers to train and help Israeli rescue services.

The firefighters “demonstrated an amazing solidarity between the American people and the Israeli people,” Ambassador David Friedman said in a statement after the visit.

“It’s an act of true friendship and true love and I think the people here know that if the United States would need help, the Israelis would come to the United States to help.”

He added: “I don’t think there is a better way to demonstrate solidarity, love, and cooperation between the United States and Israel.”

Friedman visited the Sderot fire station, meeting with Fire and Rescue Services chief Dedi Simhi and local firefighters.

Hundreds of fires caused by Gazan incendiary kites and balloons flown over the border have burned thousands of acres of park land and forests in the south of Israel in recent months.

Gaza is ruled by Hamas, an Islamist terror group that seeks the destruction of Israel.

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, center in sport coat, poses with American and Israeli firefighters and Fire and Rescue Services Commissioner Dedi Simhi at Sderot’s fire station, August 1, 2018. (Avida Landau/US Embassy in Israel)
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