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Last Updated: Tuesday August 15 2006 12:09 GMT

Lebanon oil spill clean up begins

An oil spill near Lebanon

Work to clean up the huge oil spill off the coast of Lebanon caused by missiles hitting a power station is beginning.

The spill started when Israeli planes bombed the Jiyyeh power plant near Beirut on 13 and 15 July, releasing a reported 10,000 tonnes of oil.

Since then it's been difficult to start cleaning up the spill because of the violence in Israel and Lebanon.

Even though the fighting has stopped, Israel is still blocking some air and sea transports into Lebanon.

That's making it difficult to get equipment and experts to the right places.

Jiyyeh power station
The spill was caused by Israeli bombing of the Jiyyeh power station

The Lebanese Environment Minister Yacoub Sarraf has called the oil spill the biggest environmental disaster in Lebanon's history.

The oil spill now covers 140 km (87 miles) of the coast in Lebanon, and is threatening sea species like bluefin tuna and sea turtles.

The spill could stop baby sea turtles from getting to the sea after they hatch, as well as damaging tuna eggs as they float on the surface of the water.

Middle East

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