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Lebanon's Hezbollah denies storing arms at blast site: Live

作者:admin 2020-08-08

  • Lebanese president says blast probe looking into external interference among possible causes, in addition to simple negligence or an accident.

  • Lebanese authorities have taken into custody 16 people as part of an investigation into the Beirut port warehouse explosion that shook the capital, state news agency NNA reported.

  • The Lebanese government has given an investigative committee four days to determine responsibility for the blast, Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe told French radio.

  • French President Emmanuel Macron offered France's support for the Lebanese people on a visit to Beirut, but said crisis-hit Lebanon would "continue to sink" unless its leaders carry out reforms.

  • Health Minister Hamad Hassan said at least 154 people have been killed in the explosion and 5,000 others injured, but the number is expected to rise as search-and-rescue operations continued for missing people.

INTERACTIVE: Beirut explosion map

Here are the latest updates:

Friday, August 7

19:06 GMT - Dozens of fireworks were stored in port hangar, former port workers says

A former port worker told the Guardian that dozens of bags of fireworks were stored in the same hangar as the "thousands of tonnes of ammonium nitrate" at Beirut's port and may have been a decisive factor in igniting the chemical which fuelled the explosion.

"There were 30 to 40 nylon bags of fireworks inside warehouse 12," Yusuf Shehadi said, adding that he personally saw the delivery of the fireworks which had been confiscated by customs about a decade ago.

"They were on the left-hand side when you entered the door. I used to complain about this. It wasn't safe. There was also humidity there. This was a disaster waiting to happen," Shehadi was quoted as saying.

He also said that had been instructed by the Lebanese army to house the ammonium nitrate chemical in warehouse 12 at the port, the Guardian reported, despite calls by state security officials and customs personnel urging the removal of the substance.   

Damages due to explosion in Port of Beirut

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