The judge investigating a massive blast in Beirut that killed and wounded many people two months ago has received a report from the FBI about their own probe of the blast, state-run National News Agency reported on Tuesday.
The news agency said Judge Fadi Sawwan received the FBI report on Monday, adding that he is still waiting for similar reports from French and British explosives experts. It gave no details about the content of the report.
The August 4 blast at Beirut’s port killed nearly 200 people, injured about 6,500 and caused damage worth billions of dollars. Nearly 3,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive chemical used in fertilizers, exploded at Beirut’s port. The material had been stored at the facility for seven years.
It is still not known what ignited the nitrate but more than two dozen people, many of them port and customs officials have been detained since. Mr. Sawwan, the judge in charge of the investigation, has questioned top security officials, former cabinet ministers and port employees.
NNA said the reports by foreign investigation teams will specify the cause behind the explosion of the nitrates and the nature of the explosion and whether there was an intentional act of sabotage, or whether the blast was the result of a mistake or misestimation about the dangers of the material that exploded.
A sources told Lebanese TV station MTV earlier this month that the FBI investigation considers the Beirut port explosion a deliberate crime, not an accident.
Lebanese Judge Ghassan Oweidat, revealed that in addition to the 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, kerosene, gas oil, 25 tons of fireworks and detonators for use in mines were also present in the same warehouse.
Despite calls for an International investigation President Aoun and his Iranian backed Hezbollah militant group rejected the idea . Aoun called it a waste of time .
In its aftermath, protests erupted across Lebanon against the government for their failure to prevent the disaster, joining a larger series of protests which have been taking place in the country since October 2019. On 10 August 2020, Prime Minister Hassan Diab and the Lebanese cabinet resigned due to mounting political pressure exacerbated by the event, though Diab remains a caretaker prime minister until a new government is formed.
The government-owned Port of Beirut serves as the main maritime entry point into Lebanon and a vital piece of infrastructure for the importation of scarce goods. The Beirut Naval Base is a part of the port . The port had grain silos with a total capacity of 120,000 tonnes that served as a strategic reserve of cereals for the country.