Israel's Mediterranean shore is witnessing a massive oil spill as tonnes of tar stained 160 kilometres (96 miles) of beaches along the coast that run from Gaza to Lebanon.
Thousands of volunteers gathered in the area on the weekend to help clean up the black, sticky material from the beach. Israel's military said it was deploying thousands of soldiers to help with the effort. Authorities warned everyone else to keep their distance until further notice.
The event began last week during a winter storm, which made it harder to see the tar approaching and deal with it at sea, Israeli officials said. As of now, the source ship of the spill has not been identified, but the government has launched an investigation in the matter.
Calling it a disaster, authorities and environment groups also posted pictures of tar-covered turtles, who had to be helped by officials to help them breathe through the tar.
A dead 17-meter-long fin whale which was washed ashore and was buried by Israel Nature and Parks Authority, on Nitzanim beach near the city of Ashkelon, Israel, 21 February 2021.
The rare appearance of the dead whale, of the second-biggest mammal species in the world after the Blue Whale, was initially thought to have been connected to the tar pollution. But Israel's Nature and Parks Authority said on February 19, that experts had determined that the decayed state of the whale, discovered on February 18, at the southern Nitzanim beach near Ashkelon, meant it had died some two weeks ago.