Haifa Bay factories
Haifa Bay factories Flash 90

An Israeli court on Wednesday postponed the deadline for the ammonia container in Haifa to be emptied of its toxic content, judicial sources said.

The court gave Haifa Chemicals until February 26 to remove the liquid-form chemical from its tank, located in the Haifa Bay, the sources said, according to AFP.

An initial ruling on Sunday had given the company until February 22 to clear out the container.

The postponement came after lawyers representing Haifa Chemicals argued in an appeal hearing that data put forward by the municipality to justify the container's closure were" exaggerated" and "intended to spread fear among the population".

They also argued that a halt on ammonia supplies would paralyze activity at "sensitive security installations such as the Dimona nuclear station" in the south of the country as well as military companies.

The Haifa municipality asked to close the ammonia tank after a decades-long campaign by environmental groups.

On February 1, Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav presented a report proving Haifa Chemicals' ammonia tank presented a huge risk to 600,000 people, who would be killed within fifteen minutes were the tank to explode, rupture, or collapse.

The push received added urgency last year when Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said the ammonia tank would be like "a nuclear bomb" if hit by his group's missiles.

Ammonia, used in fertilizers, is poisonous to humans. The Environment Minister in 2015 promised the ammonia tank would be gone "within three years."

AFP contributed to this report.

Join our official WhatsApp group