The EU Civil Protection Mechanism has been activated to tackle forest fires, following a request for assistance from the Israeli authorities last night (23 May). In an immediate response, the European Union has already helped mobilise 4 firefighting planes (2 from Italy and 2 from Cyprus) to be dispatched swiftly to the affected areas. Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said: “The European Union stands in solidarity with Israel at this difficult time. European support is already on its way. I thank Italy and Cyprus for their tangible solidarity. Our thoughts are with all those affected and the first responders working on the ground. We stand ready to provide further assistance.” The European Union's 24/7 Emergency Response Coordination Centre is in regular contact with the Israeli authorities to closely monitor the situation and channel the EU assistance.