No Sabotage Involved In Fuel Contamination Incident

Security officials say sabotage is not suspected in Thursday's fuel contamination incident that grounded flights from Israel's airports.

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Gabe Kahn., | updated: 15:28

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Security officials say sabotage is not suspected in Thursday afternoon's contaminated fuel incident that led to the temporary grounding of flights from Israel's airports.

By midnight Thursday night planes fueled by tanker-trucks from Israel's strategic jet fuel reserve were in the air again. Most planes were only partially fueled and landed at airports in Larnaca, Cyprus or Amman, Jordan to be topped off before proceeding to their final destinations.

Israel Radio reported El Al flew an unusually high number of flights out of Ben Gurion airport Friday morning to destinations including Paris, Rome, Kiev, and Bombay. On Thursday El Al announced it had canceled 20 flights.

Thursday two primary causes of fuel contamination were considered likely: that the fuel was infected with a bacteria that caused lipid oxidation in fuel tanks and filters; or, that the contamination was a layer of oily wax - a byproduct generated at the refinery.

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) ordered his ministry to investigate the incident.

The investigators, who are still tracing the source of the contamination, found no evidence of sabotage at Ben Gurion.