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Israeli Mayor Orders Oil Refineries Closed Over Cancer Scare

JERUSALEM — The mayor of Haifa ordered the closing Sunday of plants run by Israel's largest refining and petrochemicals group, Oil Refineries, following a report showing high cancer rates in the port city.

Oil Refineries said its operating license and those of a number of its subsidiaries had been canceled in Israel's third-largest city, which is heavily industrialized. The company said it thought the order was illegal and vowed to take legal action.

A report issued by the Health Ministry last week said data collected over the past decade showed a higher rate of cancer in the Haifa area compared to the national norm, possibly because of bad air pollution.

Oil Refineries, which can refine 10.8 million tons of crude oil a year at its Haifa plant, is one of the biggest firms in the city. Company shares fell 2.8 percent Sunday.

— Reuters