Conflicting reports have emerged over what caused the deadly blasts in Beirut on Tuesday, but Lebanon’s interior minister said that ammonium nitrate was at the storage facility in the Port of Beirut, and later confirmed by Prime Minister Hassan Diab.
Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi referred questions to the country’s Customs Department as to why such material was stored there.
About 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate were stored in the warehouse that exploded Tuesday, devastating large parts of the Lebanese capital, Diab said.
"It is unacceptable that a shipment of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate has been present for six years in a warehouse, without taking preventive measures," he said at a defense council meeting, a spokesman told a press conference.
"It is unacceptable and we cannot remain silent on this issue."
An investigation has been ordered into the explosions, which resulted in a massive mushroom cloud above the country. Lebanon’s head of General Security Abbas Ibrahim told reporters earlier that “highly explosive materials” that were confiscated “a while back” were stored at the site of the explosion.
- With AFP