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Some Israeli teams conclude earthquake rescue mission early due to verified security threat in Turkey

The United Hatzalah rescue delegation that was sent to Turkey after the country's devastating earthquakes, Feb. 12, 2023. (Photo courtesy United Hatzalah)

The United Hatzalah special rescue and relief delegation, sent to Turkey by Israel Defense Forces to assist earthquake relief efforts, is completing its mission early due to a verified security threat.

According to United Hatzalah Vice President of Operations Dov Maisel, intelligence regarding a ”concrete and immediate threat on the Israeli delegation” was received and it was very important to “put the security of our personnel first.”

There was a known risk in sending the team to this particular area of Turkey, close the Syrian border, Maisel explained, and mitigating steps were taken to reduce the potential threat and make possible the life-saving disaster relief mission.

“However, the threat level has now escalated beyond what is considered acceptable and the team is being recalled to Israel.”

During a situational assessment meeting on Saturday night, Israel’s search and rescue units, along with heads of the IDF Home Front Command, concluded with an instruction to wrap up the mission and return home.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit issued a statement to this effect on Sunday and the Hatzalah team, led by IDF Major Yossi Cohen, worked diligently to clear out their equipment and sort out urgent travel arrangements to get back to Israel as soon as possible.

Dr. Miriam Adelson, who runs a private charity focusing on healthcare and the support of Israel and the Jewish people, made her private jet available to the team in order to streamline evacuation efforts.

While the details surrounding the security threat are still unknown, it is not uncommon for such threats to be issued against Israel, with Iran believed to be the most likely source.

The joint effort with IDF Home Front Command, Israel’s search and rescue units and the Turkish Red Crescent humanitarian organization, has resulted in the rescue of 19 lives from the aftermath of Turkey’s recent earthquake.

Maisel said he was proud of the team’s accomplishments in just a matter of a few days.

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

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