Disturbing Pictures From The Worst Oil Spill In Israel's History

On Dec. 3, an oil pipeline in southern Israel ruptured, leaking nearly five million litres of crude into a nature reserve. 

The spill is one the worst environmental disasters in Israel’s history.

The area affected by the spill is between Eilat and the Evrona Nature Reserve, in the south of Israel.

The oil pipeline was breached by accident during maintenance work.

Police have ruled out sabotage as the cause of the incident.

The pipeline's valves were shut off after the leak was discovered, but it did not prevent five million litres of crude oil from leaking out, The Times of Israel reported.

The oil has flooded 200 acres of the Evrona Nature Reserve.

The reserve is home to a population of rare deer and the northernmost douma palm trees in the world, Haaretz reports.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the region on Sunday.

He said that the priority is saving the Evrona reserve, 'a precious jewel of our country.'

The Environmental Protection Ministry (EPM) said the clean-up could take many months, but that's optimistic.

So far, clean-up crews have moved more than 8,500 tons of contaminated soil into a landfill nearby.

The original spill was 'a couple of kilometres long,' according to an EPM spokeswoman.

Now the spill is threatening to spread to the Red Sea shore and neighbouring Jordan.

An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the spill and if it could have been prevented.

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