For years experts and security officials have been warning against the risk of having the factories located in the midst of half a million people, but to no avail. Hopes are that the current conflict will conclude peacefully, but that it would convince the authorities to accelerate plans for relocating the hazardous materials concentration to less populated areas.
The petrochemical plants employ, according to officials, trained personnel that undergo repeated preparations and training to handle emergency situations like this. They cooperate very closely with local firefighters who provide consultation and guidance.
One of the plants belongs to the Tashan Company (Petroleum Infrastructure). The company CEO Rafi Starka said on Sunday that the response teams are ready for a possible attack, after having gone through all necessary exercises and a most complicated training.
"All employees went through the most advanced firefighting course that was held in Houston, Texas," said Starka. "I can't say that I am not concerned, but I can tell you that in the event of an incident in one of the facilities, employees' response is the best answer on the local level," he
'Hazardous materials relocated'
ICL Fertilizers and Chemicals LTD, which manufactures fertilizers and agricultural and industrial chemicals, reduced the amount of chemicals stored in the plant.
Deputy Director George Marmur: "All employees underwent training and as the security situation exacerbated they also had a refresher course. We also reduced the amount of hazardous materials and they were transported to safe locations."
Earlier on Sunday, firefighters Chief Shimon Romah said that the missiles' attack was aimed at the factories along the shore.
Despite Hizbullah's repeated threats to hit the most prominent plant in the Haifa bay, the Haifa oil refineries, officials refused to comment or provide any information about their readiness level.