LEBANESE CUSTOMS officials have blocked imports of computers bearing the name Intel, the world's biggest chip maker, as part of what is said to be its race to solve the YK2 bug problem, and in deference to a law that targets firms with links to Israel.

Sami Nuseiri, president of the Professional Computer Association, said: "This is a very dangerous action that could bring the whole country to a halt. Intel is not on the blacklist. A decision to place it there should be taken only by the Council of Ministers, not by Customs."

Urgent orders, destined for banks and government offices, have been stuck at borders since Customs officials decided that bringing in Intel products violated a law banning goods made by firms with a presence in Israel.

Hakam Brome, head of distribution for a companysaid: "Lebanon says it wants to enter the third millennium. It is returning to the first." He said 500 motherboards he ordered, many to fulfil government tenders, were stuck at the airport. "I went to the Israeli Boycott Office which said the Arab League took a decision to ban Intel 25 years ago. But we have been importing Intel for years," he said.