Residents of Ashdod complained on Thursday of a strong odor of gas, that was causing some people a burning sensation in their eyes and difficulty breathing.
Nine schoolchildren reported feeling ill and complaints about a “terrible” smell were called in from a number of schools in the city.
The Ashdod municipality instructed schools to air out their classrooms, and some parents took their children home from school.
Fire crews and experts from the Ministry of Environmental Protection at first thought the source of the smell was a ship offloading chemical materials at sea, and the city had “gone back to its routine” once the smell disappeared.
But when the smell returned later in the day, this theory was discounted.
Gas leaking from a drilling platform stationed in the sea opposite Ashdod was thought to be the source. But this, too, turned out not to be the case. Officials there pointed out that natural gas emits no odor.
Finally, after about two hours, the gas was found to be coming from a factory in the city’s industrial zone, and it was determined to pose no health risk.