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Investigation Points to Security Failure behind Beirut Port Explosion

Investigation Points to Security Failure behind Beirut Port Explosion

Friday, 14 August, 2020 - 10:00
A view shows damage after the blast at the Beirut port area, Lebanon August 5, 2020. (Reuters)

Investigations into the massive explosion that rocked Beirut last week are “highlighting a security failure by senior authorities at the port,” informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The sources stressed that serious procedures would be taken against those whose negligence and mismanagement would be proven by the investigations, noting that criminal responsibility would be established, given the scale of the disaster and the huge number of victims.

On Friday, Judge Ghassan Khoury will start questioning current and former ministers, who have or had an authority over the port, and will listen to the testimony of former Minister of Public Works and Transport Ghazi Aridi.

Khoury will hold successive sessions as of Monday to listen to former Minister of Public Works Ghazi Zoaiter and the rest of ministers of public works, finance and justice.

Judicial and security investigations are focusing primarily on identifying those responsible for the blast, in parallel to a judicial and technical investigation aimed at finding out the causes of the explosion, and whether the ammonium nitrate warehouse detonated due to an error or by an external or internal premeditated attack.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, the sources emphasized the importance of the efforts deployed by the French experts to determine the nature of the blast and the amount of explosive materials involved.

However, the same sources noted that State Prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat is yet to receive the satellite images that he requested, as many accounts and testimonies spoke of hearing the sounds of warplanes flying at low altitude over Beirut and the Keserouan region moments before the blast.

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