TEL AVIV (May. 18)
Israeli security sources have ruled out sabotage as the cause of an explosion that destroyed a Defense Ministry munitions plant and warehouse northeast of Tel Aviv Friday night. Twenty-five people were slightly injured by glass splinters and two were treated for shock and concussion.
The blast, which sent a black mushroom could scaring thousands of feet over the Sharon Valley, shattered windows and cracked walls in nearby buildings and broke windows in the towns of Hod Hasharon, Herzlia and Ramat Hasharon. The blast was heard as far north as Nathanya and as far south as Jaffa.
A preliminary investigation indicated that the explosion was the result of spontaneous combustion of chemicals stored in the plant or an electrical malfunction that caused a short circuit. The factory was closed at the time because of the Shavuot holiday and no employees were hurt. The terrorist news agency, Wafa, in Beirut, disregarded the fact in a report yesterday claiming that Palestinian guerrillas blew up a heavy rocket fuel factory killing and injuring hundreds of Israeli troops and technicians.
The identity of the plant and the nature of the material manufactured and stored there was not disclosed. Crowds who converged on the scene minutes after the explosion were blocked by police. Ambulances and fire engines arrived but were not needed, as no fire resulted from the blast.