Photo Credit: Tomer Neuberg / Flash 90
Israelis clean tar off the Bat Yam beach following an offshore oil spill which drenched most of the Israeli coastline, March 2, 2021.

Israel’s security establishment has begun an intensive investigation into the black tar that has polluted the country’s beaches from north to south and continues to infiltrate the sea waters along its Mediterranean coastline, according to the Hebrew-language Channel 12 news team.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection has sent a report to intelligence and defense officials to assist in the investigation.

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According to Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel, Israel identified the ship that leaked large amounts of tar, polluting the coastline two weeks ago.

Gamliel said a Libyan vessel sailed to the eastern Mediterranean from Iran, and charged the pollution was carried out deliberately as an act of environmental terrorism.

“It was a pirate ship with a Libyan tanker that created the pollution,” she said at a news briefing. “It made its way all the way from the Persian Gulf with its identifying GPS device turned off. That ship is right now in Iran.”

Israeli defense officials said shortly after Gamliel’s remarks that they were unaware of the information presented by the minister and that it could not be determined that the ship had polluted the water deliberately, rather than as the result of malfunction.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.