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UN offers help to battle Israel fire

Dec. 4, 2010 8:49 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 5, 2010 9:13 A.M.)
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) -- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday offered to mobilize international help for Israel to battle a major forest fire which has killed at least 41 people, diplomats said.

"This is a terrible tragedy," Ban said in a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu which was released by the Israeli mission.

The UN leader offered help "mobilizing further support" from other United Nations members to battle the blaze on Mount Carmel which now threatens the port of Haifa.

"I am deeply saddened by the loss of life, suffering, human displacement and damage to nature," Ban said.

He praised the courage of Israeli emergency workers and the "generous international assistance" already sent.
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