Lebanon: Beirut port explosion

On Tuesday (4/8/20), a major explosion took place in the port area of Lebanon’s capital Beirut. More than 135 people were killed, dozens remain missing and approximately 5000 others were left injured.

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced that 2750 tons of ammonium nitrate, which have been stored in a warehouse in the port since 2014, had exploded.

While the possibility of the explosion being a deliberate attack or act of sabotage is not ruled out, the Lebanese authorities prefer not jumping to conclusions and awaiting the results of an official investigation already underway.

Note that US President Donald Trump has stated that the explosion “looks like a terrible attack.”

It was first thought that the explosion was the result of an Israeli airstrike, but Israel later denied any role in the explosion. In the event that such involvement is proven to be true, the region may find itself under threat as several serious scenarios may play out.

However, according to preliminary speculations, no side is currently prepared to escalate the situation, especially not the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shia Party Hezbollah.

The explosion came a few days before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon was scheduled to issue its verdict in the trial for the 2005 blast that killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri. The verdict was rescheduled to August 18.

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