“A missile or a bomb cannot be ruled out”


Explosion in Beirut, Lebanon (AP)

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Explosion in Beirut, Lebanon (AP)

Lebanese President Michel Aoun said it cannot be excluded that the two explosions that devastated Beirut on Tuesday may have been the result of “external aggression, with the aid of a missile, a bomb or some other means” . This was reported by the website of the newspaper L’Orient le Jour, reporting the statements made by Aoun during a meeting with journalists. The investigation will investigate whether it was “external aggression or the consequences of negligence”, added Aoun, underlining that to this end he asked French President Emmanuel Macron, yesterday visiting Beirut, to provide the images. satellite of the moments of the explosions. So far the authorities have said that the disaster was caused by the explosion of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored for years in the port of Beirut, but they have not explained how the explosion was triggered. The investigation, Aoun underlined, takes place at three levels: “First, to ascertain how the explosive material entered and was stored, second whether the explosion was the result of negligence or an accident, third the possibility that there has been external interference. “

Moreover, the Lebanese president today rejected requests for an international investigation into the explosions, made yesterday by various parties, including French President Emmanuel Macron during a visit to Lebanon. The website of the newspaper An Nahar writes, reporting statements made by Aoun during a meeting with a group of journalists. The demands for an international inquiry aim to “distort the truth,” added Aoun, pointing out that any verdict loses its meaning if it takes too long to be issued.

Trump-Macron: aid to Lebanon immediately

Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron discussed in a phone call working together with other countries to send aid to Lebanon immediately after the Beirut blasts. The White House reports. The two leaders also spoke about the extension of the UN arms embargo to Iran.

Nasrallah: We did not have weapons depots in the port

The leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, strongly denies that last Tuesday’s explosion that devastated Beirut was caused by the explosion of weapons deposited by the Party of God in the port of Beirut. “These are all lies and lies,” Nasrallah said, referring to the accusations, made by various parties, against Hezbollah, of being responsible for the disaster that killed more than 150 people.

The anger of the Lebanese

The anger of the Lebanese exploded last night after the devastating explosion that destroyed part of Beirut on Tuesday, the capital of a country torn by a serious economic crisis. The BBC reports clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces, who used tear gas against dozens of demonstrators near Parliament, in the heart of Beirut, a few hours after the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron. According to the Lebanese agency NNA, which speaks of several injured, the demonstrators threw stones and stones at the agents.

Port manager arrested

Meanwhile, in Beirut, the port director was arrested as part of the investigation into the terrifying explosion that took place on Tuesday. Local media reports. Hassan Qureitem was arrested by the Lebanese army military police after being questioned under the supervision of the prosecutor leading the investigation. Authorities questioned more than 18 port and customs officials and others involved in maintenance work on the warehouse that exploded on Tuesday and 16 were placed in custody. The port director general and the chief of customs, also under arrest, told Lebanese broadcasters Wednesday that several letters had been sent over the years to the country’s judiciary demanding the removal of highly explosive material stored in the port. According to authorities, nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate, used for fertilizers but also for making bombs, had been kept for six years without security measures in the exploded warehouse. 16 members of port personnel were also arrested, the Lebanese state press agency reported, citing sources from the Lebanese prosecutor.

Even an Italian among the victims

There is also a 92-year-old Italian among the 157 people who died in the powerful explosion that devastated Beirut last Tuesday. And among the 5 thousand injured there are at least ten Italians. A toll is that of the victims of a disaster with causes still to be clarified which unfortunately could still rise. The dead Italian was Maria Pia Livadiotti, born in Beirut in 1928 and registered in the Rome registry of citizens residing abroad. According to what is learned from the embassy, ​​the 92-year-old died at home, probably due to a head injury due to the shock force of the explosion, which left victims several kilometers away from the site of the explosion. On his body there were no signs of injury from splinters or plates. Maria Pia Livadiotti was one of the longest-lived Italians in Beirut and had almost always lived in the Lebanese capital. She was the widow of Lutfallah Abi Sleiman, former medical officer of the Italian embassy in Beirut. Her son said that he too had been slightly injured on the street, that he had found his mother lying on the ground on his return home and that he had realized that unfortunately she was already dead.

The story of the old Italian is mixed with that of the more than 150 people who lost their lives in the tragedy of 4 August. Among them stands the sad story of a Syrian woman and her four children, all of whom died a few hours before boarding a plane that would take them to Germany, where the husband and father of the children awaited them. He was one of countless Syrian families passing through Beirut fleeing the war in Syria. Mom and her children had arrived in Beirut in recent days and were staying in a pension not far from the port. The blast ripped apart the walls and windows of their room and, according to sources, they all died instantly.

From UN funds for hospitals Beirut

The United Nations will allocate funds to help Beirut hospitals in first aid operations and to improve reception capacity following the double blast that hit Beirut on Tuesday. The UN spokesman Farhan Haq announced this, explaining that the sums will be used for intensive care units and will provide first aid kits, fans, medicines and medical devices. Haq then explained that the United Nations is making an estimate of the damage and needs resulting from the explosion and will launch an appeal to raise the funds. “For sure, Lebanon will have substantial aid, from hospital aid to food supplies to covering the costs of long-term reconstruction,” he added.

Macron in Beirut on the destroyed streets: “Lebanon is not alone”

“Lebanon is not alone,” said French President Emmanuel Macron as he arrived at the port of Beirut, in Lebanon, where he visited the site of the devastating explosions that left at least 137 dead and 5,000 injured. Macron then went on foot to the destroyed neighborhoods to see the damage with his own eyes and meet the survivors and responded to requests for help by stating that he wanted to “propose a new pact for Lebanon” in meetings with the authorities. “The first objective of this trip is to bring all the solidarity of France and the French people to the Lebanese people,” he said after meeting at the presidential palace with President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Hassan Diab and Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri. An interview in which he stressed the importance of “a rapid and transparent investigation” into the causes of the explosion at the port, as well as urging strong political initiatives to resolve the ongoing economic crisis in Lebanon. “I spoke frankly to the three presidents about the need to fight corruption, implement reforms, conduct a transparent investigation into what is happening in the banking system and pursue dialogue with the International Monetary Fund – added the president – Lebanon suffers. for years due to an economic and financial crisis for which serious political initiatives are necessary “.

IMF: facing economic and social crisis

The International Monetary Fund urges Lebanon to face “the deep economic and social crisis” it has been going through for years and to overcome the “impasse in discussions on crucial reforms” it is conducting with the organization. In a note, two days after the devastating explosions in Beirut, the director of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, writes: “After the terrible tragedy in Lebanon, it is time for national unity, to overcome this disaster, and to face the profound economic and social crisis that the country continues to experience “. Georgieva says that the Fund “is exploring all possible ways to support the Lebanese people: it is essential to overcome the impasse in discussions on crucial reforms and to implement a meaningful program that to revive the economy and build confidence in the future of the Country”. In March, Lebanon had declared a partial default in the impossibility of repaying a 10 billion loan from the IMF, but the bailout talks have been stalled for weeks.

Cyprus police interrogate shipowner loaded with ammonium nitrate

Cypriot police questioned a Russian citizen about his alleged ties to the ship carrying the ammonium nitrate cargo which was stored in the port of Beirut and exploded in the Lebanese capital. “The Lebanese authorities asked us to locate the man and ask him some questions, which we did,” a spokesman for the Cypriot police said. “His deposition was sent to Lebanon,” the spokesman said, stating that Igor Grechushkin was not arrested, but was interrogated on matters relating to the cargo of the ship as requested by Interpol Lebanon.

Today the Cypriot Interior Minister had denied the media rumors that Grechushkin also had a Cypriot passport. According to the Cypriot newspaper Politis, Grechushkin is resident in the southern port city of Limassol, one of the world’s largest ship management centers. In 2013, approximately 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate arrived in Lebanon on the Rhosus ship, which sailed from Georgia and bound for Mozambique, said a Lebanese security source who requested anonymity. The Russian had chartered the ship which was forced to dock at the port of Beirut due to a technical problem, but which was later seized by the authorities following a lawsuit filed by a Lebanese company against the shipowner.


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