Ashdod port (file)
Ashdod port (file) Flash 90

The Ashdod port was evacuated on Monday after irregular radioactive radiation was discovered emanating from an Israeli shipping container that arrived on a Chinese ship; the port returned to routine function shortly before 2 p.m.

The container, which held industrial iron, was quickly cordoned off for inspection, and large forces of police, bomb disposal crews, firefighters and Magen David Adom (MDA) medical personnel were quickly dispatched to the scene.

Members of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) were also sent to check the suspicious cargo.

On the orders of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the container was transferred to an isolated area in the port.

The ministry emphasized that the public is in no danger from the radiation, noting that traces of radiation were discovered during a routine inspection, and currently the source and level of the radiation is being investigated.

Shortly after 2 p.m. the Ashdod port authority said in a statement that operations had returned to normal, and the hazardous materials protocol was followed fully in the incident which it said involved "minimal levels" of radioactive material.

There is no danger from the radiation outside of the container's wall, the port authority added, noting that the port and the relevant authorities are handling the incident.

Israeli ports have maintained a radioactive radiation monitoring system for a number of years, with the main aim being to prevent "dirty bomb" attacks in which explosives are mixed with radioactive materials.

The last similar case occurred two years ago when a container was suspected to be emitting radiation, but it was later found to be a false alarm.

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