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Intel finds itself on the front lines in Israel

Several barrages of rockets fired by Hezbollah guerillas in southern Lebanon hit the Israeli port city of Haifa on Sunday. The coastal city is home to one of Intel Corp.’s most important processor design centers.

The first barrage of rockets on Sunday killed eight Israeli workers and wounded 17 at a train depot in Haifa. No one was injured by two additional attacks on the city that same day, according to Israeli media reports. On Sunday, Israel’s Home Front Command ordered residents in Haifa to stay inside bomb shelters.

Despite the rocket attacks, operations at Intel’s Haifa design center have so far not been disrupted, said Koby Bahar, a spokesman for Intel Israel. The center employs around 2,300 workers, he said.

Responding to the Home Front Command’s orders, essential employees are working inside protected areas at Intel’s development center while others work from bomb shelters near their home. “The protective shelters in Haifa are equipped with wireless connections and all Intel employees have laptops, so that hasn’t affected work,” Bahar said.

The attacks spurred a further escalation in the armed conflict that erupted last week after Hezbollah guerillas abducted two soldiers in an attack on an Israeli patrol. The fighting has resulted in casualties on both sides, with more than 100 Lebanese civilians reported killed in Israeli strikes. Eight Canadian citizens were also reported killed after an Israeli air strike in southern Lebanon.

Intel has a total of 5,400 employees at several locations in Israel. Qiryat Gat, in southern Israel, is home to a US$1.6 billion manufacturing plant, Fab 18. The Intel design team in Haifa, on Israel’s northern coast, produced the Pentium M chip and is responsible for the design of the company’s next-generation mobile processors.

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