Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said Tuesday Israel
was considering the permanent deployment of an Iron Dome
missile defense battery in the Haifa Bay area to protect the oil refineries there.
"The refineries are crucial to the continued functioning of Israel's economy at times of emergency," he said during a meeting with Oil Refineries CEO Pinchas Buchris and the company's chairman of the board, Yossi Rosen.
leader Hassan Nasrallah
said earlier in the day that the Lebanese Shiite group was capable of attacking "way beyond Haifa."
Vilnai said protecting the refineries was "vital to the continued functioning of Israel's economy at times of crisis."
Buchris and Rosen, for their part, briefed the minister on the various defense mechanisms recently installed in the refineries.
They said the employees staged an exercise simulating an attack on the refineries. Vilnai was also presented with a plan detailing how the refineries would function at a time of war. According to the plan, work at the refineries would go on in order to maintain "economic continuity."
Vilnai's office has drafted a plan aimed at protecting the refineries in case of an attack. Israeli defense officials estimate Hezbollah would not hesitate to target the refineries.
During the Second Lebanon War
in 2006 a rocket fired from Lebanon exploded in an open area near one of the refineries in Haifa. A direct hit on one of the refineries may cause numerous casualties as a result of leakage of dangerous chemical substances.
Ahiya Raved contributed to the report