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Israel says it received no advance warning of oil spill in Mediterranean

The Environmental Protection Ministry says it received no alert of the oil spill in the Mediterranean from neighboring countries or Israeli sources and only became aware of the environmental disaster when tar began washing up on Israel’s shores on February 17.

The Israeli ministry moreover says it has yet to receive any information from other countries on the spill.

The ministry estimates the spill happened 50 kilometers from Israel’s coast, outside its territorial waters. It says a simulation run by the ministry suggests it occurred off the coast of Ashkelon.

The ministry says 10 boats are suspects as perpetrators of the disastrous leak, one of which was ruled out when inspectors carried out a surprise check at the Ashdod port. Two of the 10 docked in Ashdod.

An unusual gag order has been placed on the case.

People clean tar from an oil spill in the Mediterranean sea in Gador nature reserve near Hadera, Israel, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
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