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Lebanon: Army Seizes Ammonium Nitrate, Equipment to Manufacture Captagon In Bekaa

Lebanon: Army Seizes Ammonium Nitrate, Equipment to Manufacture Captagon In Bekaa

Wednesday, 6 October, 2021 - 06:30
Authorities seized 20 tons of the dangerous chemical stored inside a truck parked at a warehouse early this month. (NNA)

The Lebanese army on Tuesday said it has seized quantities of ammonium nitrate at a gas station in the country's northeastern region of Arsal in Bekaa.

“On October 4, and following information about the presence of ammonium nitrate in the town of Arsal, an army patrol and military intelligence conducted a raid on a gas station in the town and seized 28,275 kilograms of ammonium nitrate,” the Lebanese army said in a statement.

It added that the bags storing the material indicated a nitrogen content of 26 per cent. The Army sent samples of the seized substance to check the percentage of nitrogen it contains.

The military detained one Lebanese national and three Syrians in connection to the case.

In September, Lebanese authorities seized 20 tons of ammonium nitrate -- the same chemical behind a deadly explosion last year at Beirut’s port -- in the eastern Bekaa Valley.

On Tuesday, Lebanon’s National News Agency reported that the detainees in the Bekaa Nitrate case appeared before the military investigative judge, Marcel Bassil. It said the file was referred to him by the Acting First Military Investigative Judge Fadi Sawan.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati had announced earlier that the substance seized in Bekaa last month was different from the one that caused the explosion at the Beirut Port on August 4, 2020.

Ammonium nitrate is an odorless crystalline substance commonly used as a fertilizer that has been the cause of numerous industrial explosions over the decades. At least 214 people were killed and some 6,500 others wounded on August 4, 2020 when a shipment of the chemical carelessly stocked at the Beirut port for years ignited and caused a massive blast.

Separately, an army patrol seized on Tuesday "Captagon-manufacturing equipment and other material," it said in the statement. The equipment was stored in several farms in the Bekaa Valley.

A Syrian man suspected of having links to the case was arrested.

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