- AMSTERDAM (AP) -- An Israeli El Al cargo jet that crashed in Amsterdam
six years ago was carrying chemicals used to produce the deadly nerve gas
sarin, a Dutch newspaper reported Wednesday.
- The plane was carrying 190 litres of
the chemical identified as dimethyl methylphosphonate when it crashed into
an apartment block outside Amsterdam in 1992, said the respected national
daily NRC Handelsblad.
- Citing a freight document, the newspaper
said the chemical came from a U.S. company in Pennsylvania and was headed
for the Israel Institute for Biological Research in Ness Ziona near Tel
- The U.S. company was identified as Solkatronic
Chemicals Inc. in Morrisville, Pa.
- A copy of the document was printed on
the front page of the newspaper, which did not say how it acquired the
- Nearly six years after the accident,
controversies still surround the plane's cargo, despite repeated investigations.
Ahead of the report, the Dutch parliament announced it will conduct a parliamentary
inquiry into the accident.
- The Boeing 747-200 crashed into an apartment
complex in southern Amsterdam on Oct. 4, 1992, killing 43 people. Israeli
officials said earlier the plane did not carry any dangerous materials.
- On Wednesday, David Bar-Illan, the senior
adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, denied that the plane
was carrying chemicals used to produce sarin.
- Nahman Klieman, spokesman for El Al,
said Wednesday that the cargo manifests were turned over to Dutch authorities
immediately after the accident. He also said that El Al flies all cargo
materials in accordance with international regulations.
- However, Klieman would not comment when
asked whether chemicals used for making the nerve gas sarin were aboard
the plane when it crashed.
- According to NRC, the amount of dimethyl
methylphosphonate on board was enough to produce up to 270 kilograms of
the nerve gas.
- The raw material is also used in building
materials as a flame retardant.
- Four main components are needed for the
production of sarin and three of them were on board the El Al jet, said
- The newspaper said it was not clear whether
the burning of these chemicals following the accident was to blame for
health complaints by residents near the crash site.
- A spokesman for the Dutch Transport Ministry
declined comment on the report, saying all the details concerning the plane's
cargo were announced previously.