gas - Tomer Appelbaum - February 11 2011
Paying more at the pump. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
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The symptoms of the contaminated jet fuel which halted flights out of Ben-Gurion International Airport on Thursday were seen in recent weeks in buses and trucks across Israel, TheMarker reported.

The contaminated fuel contains unidentified greasy liquid parts that get stuck in the filter of gas pipelines, damaging the tank of the vehicle. This same type of fuel is what halted flights departing from Ben-Gurion airport, stranding thousands of passengers awaiting information on their flights

The biological Institute in Nes Tziona was summoned a few days ago to take samples at a fuel terminal in Israel's central region.

Israel dipped into its emergency supply of jet fuel Thursday evening in order to alleviate the crisis at the airport.

The halting of departures and rerouting of foreign has caused massive delays and left thousands of passengers stranded.

According to a report received by Haaretz, foreign airliners in need of refueling have been instructed to land in Cyprus instead.

The Paz Aviation Assets firm that provides the fuel to Ben-Gurion International Airport alerted airport authorities of the contamination, prompting airport manager Shmuel Kandel to order all refueling be stopped.

Airport spokesman Adar Avisar said the contamination had been discovered early enough in the day to ensure that no plane had departed with fuel that might have been contaminated.

"There are no planes in the air that have received an order to land," he said.

The general manager of the airport told Haaretz that a clog in the filters of trucks that fill the fuel tanks was identified two weeks ago. The fuel and filters were sent to a lab, where the substance was identified.

The airline Arkia announced that all flights within Israel as well as international ones have been cancelled until further notice from the airport. El Al made a similar announcement, cancelling 20 flights.

Yishai Lisker, whose family of five was supposed to fly out on Thursday for a bar-mitzvah said "at the moment, no one can tell me if the flight is still on or if its cancelled, or whether or not we will get our money back."

Substandard fuel supplies have caused flight delays in Ben-Gurion airport in the past, with one such occurrence arresting refueling operation for a whole day.