Israel offers help after fatal Cyprus blast

By Jennifer Lipman, July 12, 2011

Israel has offered assistance to its geographic neighbour Cyprus following Monday's devastating explosion at a naval base.

The blast left 12 people dead, among them the Cypriot naval chief, and damaged nearby buildings. Investigators said the explosion originated with gunpowder stores at the base.

Israel's Foreign Ministry offered to help with medical assistance and the clean-up of the disaster area. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also expressed Israel's condolences in a conversation with his Cypriot counterpart Markos Kyprianou.

In a separate conversation with the president of Cyprus, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recalled the island's help last November during the Carmel forest fire.

President Dimitris Christofias said the mutual assistance was an example of the genuine friendship between the two countries. Israel and Cyprus are located just 165 miles apart.

Last updated: 2:33pm, July 12 2011