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Peres sends condolences to Turkey for mine tragedy

TEL AVIV (JTA) — Israel’s embassy in Turkey canceled a celebration of Israel’s Independence Day following the deadly mine collapse in Turkey.

Israeli President Shimon Peres also sent a letter of condolence to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following the mine collapse Wednesday in Manisa that trapped more than 700 miners underground. Erdogan said  that 238 miners had died and more than 200 remain trapped, while 363 have been rescued.

“I wish to extend my deepest condolences, and those of the people of Israel, to your country on the tragic accident in Manisa,” Peres said in the statement. “We are all shocked at the loss of life of innocent people at work and our thoughts are with the people of Turkey.”

The embassy’s celebration was scheduled for Wednesday, Israel’s Independence Day on the Gregorian calendar, even though it was observed on its Hebrew date last week in Israel, according to Haaretz.

Following a breakdown in relations in 2010, Israel and Turkey have been in reconciliation talks since last year. Recent reports indicate that an agreement is near.

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