An explosion Monday at a chemical plant in southern Israel unleashed a toxic cloud that could threaten communities living nearby, local newsreports said.
The blast took place at the Makhteshim Chemical Works in Ramat Hovav, located in Israel's Negev desert, some 12 kilometres from the town of Be'ersheva.
Three people were being treated after they inhaled toxic phosphorous fumes and traces of the chemical were identified in an area occupied by Bedouin communities, the reports said.
Authorities have closed the Route 40 highway connecting Ramat Hovav and Be'ersheva.
Also located in the Negev desert is Dimona, reportedly the centre of Israel's nuclear programme, but about which little official information exists.
Last Mod: 14 Ağustos 2007, 11:15