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ATHENS (Reuters) - A wildfire that burned rural land near Athens and sent some residents fleeing their homes receded on Sunday with firefighters expecting to put out the blaze within hours.

More than 140 firefighters with dozens of engines battled the flames, aided by seven aircraft and four helicopters. Greek authorities on Saturday asked other EU countries to send water bombing airplanes to reinforce efforts to fight the fires.

Two Italian Canadair aircraft with a total of 10 crew members left Ciampino airbase outside Rome early on Sunday bound for Greece, the European Commission said.

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