U.S., Israel troops leave typhoon-ravaged central Philippines

Dec. 3, 2013 at 1:27 PM

MANILA, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. and Israeli forces have pulled out of the central Philippines after helping with relief operations in the region, a Philippine official said Tuesday.

Capt. Rafael Mariano, director of the multinational coordinating center, said as many as 12,000 U.S. troops had offered help in the Eastern Visayas region after it was hit by Typhoon Haiyan, Philippine Daily Inquirer.net reported.

"The U.S. was among the first responders here," Mariano said. "Their unique capability to transport goods is really commendable. Without them, it would've taken a longer time."

The main U.S. role was in restoring a runway at the Tacloban City airport and installing radar so planes could land at night, he said.

Some 150 Israeli troops also have left and British forces are expected to pull out next week, Mariano said.

Other nations that have provided assistance include Japan, Canada, Australia and Brunei. He expected those troops to leave the country by mid-December.

Italy sent three aircraft. South Korea is planning to send engineers to help with reconstruction.

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