Lebanese and international investigators have yet to identify the owner of the 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate which sat languishing in Beirut’s port for seven years before it detonated amid an accidental warehouse fire on Aug.4, killing over 200 people and injuring more than 6,000.
It was estimated to be worth $700,000 by 2013 prices, but no one ever came forward to claim it. It’s still a mystery even after Cypriot authorities at the request of Interpol late last week finally interviewed the man who originally abandoned Rhosus, a Russian businessman named Igor Grechushkin, during the ship’s ill-fated intended trip to deliver the substance to an explosives maker in Mozambique.
Reuters along with others have been investigating the ship, which sank while moored of Beirut in 2018, and the mystery of just who owned its volatile cargo: “Among the still-unanswered questions: who paid for the ammonium nitrate and did they ever seek to reclaim the cargo when the Rhosus was impounded? And if not, why not?”
In a brief televised speech on Monday, Prime Minister Hassan Diab said he was taking “a step back” so that he can stand with the Lebanese people “and fight the battle for change alongside them.”
“I declare today the resignation of this government. May God protect Lebanon,” Diab announced.
“Today we are heeding the people and their demands to hold accountable those responsible for a disaster.”
Diab blamed his predecessors for last week’s deadly blast in the capital Beirut. “They (political class) should have been ashamed of themselves because their corruption is what has led to this disaster that had been hidden for seven years,” he added.
“Their corruption created this tragedy,” said Diab. “Between us and change stands a thick wall protected by their dirty tactics,” he added.
‘We Are at War With Our Govt’: Protesters Clash With Police, Army in Beirut
Chaotic scenes returned to Beirut last night as violent clashes between anti-government protestors demanding regime change and security forces saw buildings damaged by Tuesday’s huge explosion set on fire.
The groups exchanged tear gas and molotov cocktails as night fell, with the army being drafted in to take control of Martyrs’ Square in the city centre. It is believed one police officer fell to his death following an ‘assault’ by protestors, and dozens of demonstrators are injured.
The blast of the Port of Beirut that ripped through the city – killing 150 people – has been seen as a direct consequence of the incompetence and corruption that have come to define Lebanon’s ruling class.
Harrowing footage of the explosion in Beirut captured the instant devastation caused by the shockwave.
The video begins during a peaceful bridal shoot moments before the blast is heard and a shockwave shatters windows and disorients people caught in its path.
Up to 300,000 people in Beirut have been left without a home after the deadly explosion that ripped through a large part of the Lebanese capital on Tuesday, the governor of the city said.
The powerful eruption devastated entire neighborhoods and affected roughly half of the city, Governor Marwan Abboud told local and international media.
With numerous buildings damaged by the blast wave, between 200,000 and 300,000 people in Beirut have been left without a home and will need food, water and shelter. Preliminary estimates place the damage anywhere between $3 billion and $5 billion and “maybe more,” Abboud added.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of Hezbollah missile sites in downtown Beirut in a warehouse that happens to be near or the exact location of Tuesday’s devastating explosion, according to resurfaced footage of a 2018 UN speech.
Netanyahu stressed that Hezbollah was using the locals as “human shields” given the sites’ locations in the densely populated city.
“Here’s a picture worth a thousand missiles,” said Netanyahu. “Here’s the first missile site, it’s in the Uzai neighborhood on the water’s edge.”
“Hezbollah is deliberately using the innocent people of Beirut as human shields.”
Just yesterday, President Trump said the incident looked like an attack, based on counsel he had with his generals.
Dozens of videos out of the Port of Beirut in Lebanon flooded social media Tuesday showing a massive explosion engulf a large part of the city.
Footage from numerous vantage points throughout Beirut show a billowing column of smoke rising out of a warehouse near Port 12 from a smaller explosion when a sudden more powerful explosion vaporizes several buildings accompanied by a forceful shock wave.
Witnesses from as far as the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, 143 miles off the coast of Beirut, also saw and felt the explosion, ABC reported.