The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) sent the elite 699 search-and-rescue unit to Jordan to assist the rescue operation after a tour bus was hit by flash flood near the Dead Sea.
Eighteen people have died – mostly children – and 35 injured in flash floods caused by heavy rains. The rescue operation involved helicopters and divers working through the night. According to the IDF, “the crews were dispatched in short intervals, where they deployed rescue equipment and established a ground command team in order to manage the mission and coordinate additional aerial forces”. The Israel Air Force also assisted in the rescue operation by illuminating the search area from the air.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II cancelled his visit to Bahrain, where he was due to deliver the keynote address at this year’s IISS Manama Dialogue. He was expected to focus on the importance of the Palestinian–Israeli peace process, and the role of regional powers in tackling radicalism and terrorism.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi has stressed his country’s commitment to the 1994 bilateral peace treaty with Israel despite Jordan decision to reclaim the agricultural areas of Naharayim and Zofar in the Jordan Valley, cultivated by Israeli farmers over the past 25 years. He said the decision not to extend the lease was fully in keeping with the spirit of the peace treaty. “We will fulfil our legal commitments in a manner that recognise whatever rights there are for Israel, particularly the property rights. We will respect these rights in accordance with Jordanian laws that respects private property of non-Jordanians,” he added.