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AMMAN: King Abdullah II of Jordan has called for responsibility in the deadly gas leak incident that took place on Monday.

At least 13 people were killed and 250 got health problems after a chlorine container exploded in the port of the Red Sea in Aqaba when it fell from a crane and released a large cloud of toxic yellow smoke.

The king “stressed the need to provide clear explanations to the people once the investigation is completed, and to establish loopholes and responsibilities under the law,” the palace said in a statement. He also condoled the families of the victims.

On Tuesday, King Abdullah chaired a meeting of the National Center for Security and Crisis Management to follow the latest developments related to the explosion.

At the meeting, attended by Crown Prince Al-Hussein bin Abdullah II far from Aqaba, King Abdullah condoled the families of those who died under their duty while wishing the wounded a speedy recovery.

The king has been following with the Crown Prince the details and the rescue and evacuation efforts right from the beginning of the incident. He demanded that all necessary precautions be taken to prevent such incidents from recurring in the future.

In addition, he praised the efforts of members of the Jordanian Armed Forces and Security Forces, in particular the Ministry of Civil Defense and the civilian and military medical personnel, for their immediate availability and great professionalism in handling the incident and evacuating the wounded.

He said their actions helped save lives and limit the number of victims. The Crown Prince told about his inspection of the scene on Tuesday and his visit to the hospitalized injured. He reiterated the need to maintain cooperation and coordination between all the entities involved, which await the results of the investigation.

On Tuesday, Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh visited the site and, referring to the civil defense and environmental authorities, said that the gas concentration in the area had returned to normal. He said most port activities had resumed, except for the exact location of the incident, which was cleared up and inspected.

Al-Khasawneh said a large number of people who were hospitalized were on their way home.

A government spokesman, Faisal al-Shboul, told state media that 8 of those killed were Jordanians and 5 were foreigners. Among those injured were Chinese and Vietnamese nationals, hospital officials said.

Video shown on state television showed the moment the container exploded, prompting dock workers to flee the toxic cloud. About 200 people have been admitted.

The Directorate of Public Safety, which originally described the incident as a gas leak, said authorities cordoned off the area after evacuating the wounded and sending specialists to the scene.

public television Jordan TV said 13 people had been killed. Al Mamlaka TV, another official media, assured that 199 people were still being treated in hospitals. The Directorate of Public Security said a total of 251 people were injured.

Aqaba is located on the northern tip of the Red Sea, next to the Israeli city of Eilat, which is just across the border. Both cities are popular beach and diving destinations. Eilat’s emergency services said in a statement that the city was not affected, but they monitored the situation closely.

(With PA)

This text is the translation of an article published on Arabnews.com

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