05:04 GMT06 May 2021
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    Ammonia is widely used as a refrigerant gas, and in the fertilizer industry. It is both explosive and highly toxic. High concentrations of ammonia in air can cause blindness, lung damage or even death.

    Employees of the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Haifa Bay, northwest Israel were evacuated on Thursday after an ammonia gas leak, local media have reported, citing the Fire Department.

    The incident was said to have taken place on Thursday evening, with firefighters arriving at the scene and proceeding to neutralize the gas using remote sealing systems, leading to a drop in readings and danger to human health. Firefighters also carried out monitoring of the area around the plant to ensure there was no danger to the local environment.

    No injuries or fatalities were reported. The Ministry of Labour was informed about the incident.

    Firefighters arrive at Haifa Coca-Cola plant following ammonia leak.
    © Photo : Haifa Fire and Rescue
    Firefighters arrive at Haifa Coca-Cola plant following ammonia leak.

    Ammonia is a nitrogen and hydrogen compound widely used as an industrial chemical, and as a raw material in several industries. It is highly toxic to humans in high concentrations and can even cause death. Its production, storage and use thereby require the observance of strict safety rules.

    The incident at the Coca-Cola plant comes amid elevated tensions across Israel following two recent incidents, including a blast at a rocket factory in central Israel on Tuesday which authorities claimed was a 'controlled blast', and Thursday morning's launch of a Syrian S-200 surface-to-air missile into central Israel – with the missile exploding about 40 km from the country’s sensitive and highly secretive nuclear research facility in Dimona. The Israeli military confirmed that an interceptor missile was fired to try to intercept the Syrian SAM, but that it failed. The S-200 entered Israeli airspace following an Israeli air raid. The incident prompted the Israeli Air Force to launch additional attacks against air defences outside Damascus. Syrian media reported that most of the barrage of Israeli missiles was destroyed, but four servicemen were wounded.

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