Israel on Tuesday night offered humanitarian aid to Lebanon, after explosions at a Beirut port killed dozens and injured thousands, in a rare show of support for the enemy country.
“Israel approached Lebanon through international defence and diplomatic channels to offer the Lebanese government medical humanitarian aid,” Defence Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said in a joint statement.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he instructed his National Security Adviser, Meir Ben Shabbat, to discuss with UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov how Israel can assist Lebanon.
President Reuven Rivlin, in tweets in English, Arabic and Hebrew, added: “We share the pain of the Lebanese people and sincerely reach out to offer our aid at this difficult time.”
Knesset opposition leader Yair Lapid also sent his condolences to the families of the victims.
“This is the time to transcend conflict,” the Israel Defence Forces said in a tweet regarding Israel’s aid offer.
Lebanon was not expected to take the Jewish state up on the offer, despite the already-ailing country’s woes.
The blast left at least 50 people dead and thousands more injured, according to officials. Many more people were said to be buried under rubble.
The cause of the blast, which sparked fires, overturned cars and blew out windows and doors, was not immediately known.
Tensions have been high on the Israeli-Lebanese border recently, after Israel said it thwarted an infiltration attempt by up to five Hezbollah gunmen — a claim denied by the Hezbollah. Israel has been bracing for an attack from Hezbollah after killing one of its men in an airstrike in Syria last month.