Gas Leak in Jordanian Port City Kills 13, Injures Some 250

Gas tank leak caused the accident in the port city of Aqaba, authorities say ■ Israel issues no warnings, categorizes the event as 'local' in nature

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The incident at the Aqaba port on Monday.
The incident at the Aqaba port on Monday.

A poisonous gas leak in Jordan’s southern port city of Aqaba on Monday killed at least 13 people and injured some 250, authorities said.

Video carried by state-run media outlets showed a crane hoisting a large tanker from a truck and then dropping it on the deck of a ship, causing an explosion of yellow smoke and sending dockworkers racing away.

The Public Security Directorate said a gas tank sprung a leak while being transported. It did not identify the contents of the tanker.

A video of Monday's explosion shared in a tweet by Ammon News agency.

The directorate said authorities sealed off the area after evacuating the injured to hospitals and sent specialists in to address the situation.

The directorate said 13 people were killed and 251 injured. State-run al-Mamlaka TV said 199 were still being treated in hospitals.
Dr. Jamal Obeidat, a local health official, urged people to stay inside and close windows and doors. The nearest residential area is 25 kilometers (15 miles) away.

Aqaba is on the northern tip of the Red Sea, next to the Israeli city of Eilat, which is just across the border. Both are popular beach and diving destinations. There were no reports of injuries or contamination in Eilat.

Israel's Ministry of Environmental Protection categorized the incident in Aqaba as local in nature, posing no threat to Israel's marine environment or the neighboring Israeli city of Eilat. Accordingly, they issued no public warnings.

The spokeswoman for the Eilat Municipality said that following an assessment, it was determined that because the incident occurred south of Eilat, its effect on the city depends on north wind. She clarified that there was currently no impact on the city, and that no change in the direction of wind is expected.

Israeli military forces in Eilat are monitoring the maritime area, she added.

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