ISRAEL: Haifa oil refinery tower collapses

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View of the water cooling towers at the Haifa oil refinery on June 12, 2020, after one of them collapsed on Friday morning. Photo by Meir Vaknin/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** áúé æé÷å÷ áæ"ï áæï àøåáåú çéôä úàåðä ÷øéñä áúé äæé÷å÷ æé÷å÷

One of Haifa’s iconic oil refinery towers collapsed on Friday morning, taking a chunk out of the coastal hub’s industrial skyline in what the environment minister said was a symbol of a new start for Israel’s most polluted city.

The BAZAN Group, the crude oil company that owns the refinery, said in a statement that the pair of cooling towers had not been used since 2009 and that the collapse of one took place after an internal wall fell down a day earlier.

The group said it was “taking all steps, including consulting with engineering and planning experts, to study the event.”

Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel tweeted that the incident was a “significant symbol of the beginning of the end” for the factories that have polluted the Haifa Bay area for decades.

“This collapse happened accidentally but next time it will be deliberate,” Gamiel vowed, saying that “Haifa’s residents deserve a healthy environment.”