Israeli court imposes seven-day gag order on media reporting of huge oil spill

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LAW TVIsrael’s Haifa magistrate court has placed a seven-day gag order on the investigation into the source of a huge oil leak that caused Israel’s entire Mediterranean shoreline to be polluted with tar.

The order prohibits publishing any details that may identify suspects, vessels, relevant ports, cargo and shipping lines.

The court order was passed at the request of Israel’s Environmental Protection Ministry, which is probing the spill.

According to the Environmental Protection Ministry, the request was made because the investigation conducted by the National Marine Environment Protection Division and the Green Police has complex international aspects.

The oil spill began appearing last week during a winter storm, which made it harder to see the tar approaching and deal with it at sea.

Large areas of the Israeli coastline are now covered with tar, and the oil spill has even reached the beaches of Lebanon this week.

According to experts, the spill might take months or even years to clean up.

Thousands of volunteers gathered on Sunday to remove the clumps of sticky black refuse from the beaches.

The court on Tuesday partially lifted the gag order holding that while the actual details on the investigation must remain under wraps, findings that could be deduced independently and through open sources can be published.

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