Tayside and Central Scotland

West Bank fire engine stuck in Israeli customs

Firefighters
Image caption Breathing apparatus, boots and helmets were among the equipment sent to Nablus

Firefighting equipment driven from Scotland and intended for Palestinians on the West Bank has been impounded by Israeli customs.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said the mission had become the victim of "unnecessary red tape".

Firefighters left from Dundee with two retired appliances on 3 October, hoping to reach Nablus.

An FBU spokesman said he had been assured the equipment would be delivered "very shortly".

A team of five set out on the 2,500 mile journey to the West Bank with two appliances, but one had to be abandoned in central Greece after suffering a mechanical failure.

However, the firefighting equipment - including boots, helmets and breathing apparatus - was transferred to the second vehicle.

The FBU's Jim Malone, who was a member of the team driving the equipment to Dundee's twin city Nablus, said it was "frustrating" to have to return to Scotland with the gear undelivered.

He told the BBC News website: "It's been impounded by the Israeli customs authority at Haifa port.

"They say they haven't got the proper documentation and the request for clearance from the Palestinian authority. We refute that, and say that documentation has been provided.

"What we have got is an assurance from both the Israeli and the Palestinian authorities that the equipment and the appliance will be delivered to the firefighters of Nablus very shortly."

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