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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 December, 2004, 16:37 GMT
Sri Lanka rejects Israel rescuers
Zaka workers in Taba
A team of Zaka religious rescuer has already left
Israel has cancelled plans to send a 150-person rescue mission to Sri Lanka after the devastated island objected to the military composition of the team.

The delegation - including 60 soldiers - had been due to set off on Tuesday to help after Sunday's tsunami disaster.

Instead, a smaller team will escort a convoy carrying emergency supplies, Israeli officials said.

Sri Lanka restored diplomatic ties with Israel in 2000, despite objections from the island's Muslim minority.

Neither side has officially explained the change of plan, although some reports say the objection came from Sri Lanka's military.

Sri Lanka Ambassador Diffa Digeratna is quoted by Jerusalem Post as saying that the change was due to the "the lack of accommodations in Colombo".

Israel's army had planned to send staff to set up field hospitals, including internal medicine and paediatric clinics, an Israeli army spokesman said.

Israeli PM Ariel Sharon visits foreign ministry situation room
A situation room has been set up to track down Israeli holidaymakers
Other Israeli agencies have sent emergency relief to Sri Lanka and other tsunami-hit countries.

Humanitarian organisation Latet sent a jumbo jet carrying 18 metric tons of supplies to Colombo, medical teams have been dispatched to Thailand and help offered to India, Haaretz reported.

A rescue-and-recovery team from the Jewish ultra-Orthodox organisation Zaka left for the region on Monday with equipment used for identifying bodies, as well as body bags.

Israel's foreign ministry has set up a situation room for relatives to track down hundreds of Israelis on holiday in the tsunami zone, who have not yet made contact.

No one from the country has yet been confirmed dead in the disaster.





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