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Israel prepares aid, sends condolences as Morocco grapples with earthquake tragedy

Defense minister says Israel is committed to stand by Abraham Accords partners during difficult times

Rescuers carry a search operation following a powerful earthquake, in Amizmiz, in Morocco, Sept. 9, 2023. (Photo: REUTERS/Abdelhak Balhaki)

The first humanitarian aid team from Israel is expected to arrive in Morocco on Sunday, as the death toll continues to climb following a devastating 6.8 earthquake that struck near the town of Marrakesh in the High Atlas Mountain range on Friday night.

At least 1,000 people are dead and 1,200 people injured in rugged, mountainous and hard-to-reach areas of the kingdom.

Before the team arrives, assistance from NGO IsraAID will ship urgently needed relief supplies. The local Marrakesh Jewish community has been contacted to explore opportunities to partner with them in the rescue effort, according to the Jerusalem Post.

A representative of the Moroccan Health Ministry told Israel's Kan news outlet that a humanitarian and national disaster had taken place, but added that the situation is currently stable and government mechanisms continue to work.

On Saturday, several Israeli politicians and institutions promised to send additional relief efforts to the stricken kingdom.

“A significant part of the Abraham Accords is our commitment to stand by our partners during difficult times,” said Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. “The State of Israel is prepared to assist the Kingdom of Morocco.”

“The people of Israel strengthen our friends, the Moroccan people in their difficult time, offer a prayer for their safety and will assist in any need that is required,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

He also instructed all government bodies to provide any necessary assistance, including preparations for sending an aid delegation to the area.

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog said, “On behalf of the people of Israel, I send deepest condolences to His Majesty King Mohammed VI and all the people of Morocco for the tragic loss of life in last night’s earthquake. We pray for the injured. Israel is ready to help as needed.”

Magen David Adom, the Israel Defense Forces, and the health and foreign ministries also confirmed they had contacted their counterparts in Morocco and promised assistance as soon as the country was ready.

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said, “Immediately upon receiving the report, we offered the Moroccan government assistance. The Foreign Ministry is also identifying and assisting Israelis currently distressed in Morocco.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said on Saturday afternoon that there was no indication that Israelis had been injured or killed in the earthquake.

However, Israel set up a situation room in the country and was in contact with Israelis on the ground, including helping them leave the country, according to the Foreign Ministry.

The Department for Israelis Abroad and Israeli representatives in Rabat continue to work to establish contact with all Israelis in the country in order to ensure their well-being.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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