Thousands of IDF troops to assist in clean up of major tar spill, army says

The Israel Defense Forces and Nature and Parks Authority say in a joint message that the military will assist in cleaning up a major tar spill off of Israel’s coast.

IDF chief Aviv Kohavi and Nature and Parks Authority head Shaul Goldstein have agreed that “starting this week, thousands of IDF soldiers will assist workers and volunteers of the Nature and Parks Authority in mapping areas damaged by the tar pollution, cleaning beaches and in the removal” of pollutants, the statement says.

Reports of the pollution first emerged on Thursday when a 17-meter dead baby fin whale washed up on Israel’s coast, along with other wildlife.

The spill is shaping up to be a major ecological disaster. Goldstein called it Israel’s “worst environmental disaster in a decade.”

A number of people who volunteered to participate in a cleanup operation of the massive tar spill were hospitalized earlier in the day after inhaling apparently toxic fumes.

The cause of the spill — involving dozens of tons of tar spilled at sea — was not definitively clear and was under investigation.

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