Beirut port officials to be placed under house arrest: Ministry sources

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Lebanon’s cabinet on Wednesday agreed to place all Beirut port officials who have overseen storage and security since 2014 under house arrest, ministerial sources said.

It was not clear how many officials would be included or their seniority level.

The army will oversee the house arrest until responsibility is determined for a huge explosion at the port that occurred on Tuesday, the sources said.

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The cabinet also announced a two-week state of emergency in Beirut.

President Michel Aoun said 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, used in fertilisers and bombs, had been stored for six years at the port without safety measures, after it was seized.

He said in a national address the government was “determined to investigate and expose what happened as soon as possible, to hold the responsible and the negligent accountable.”

An official source familiar with preliminary investigations blamed the incident on “inaction and negligence”, saying “nothing was done” by committees and judges involved in the matter to order the removal of hazardous material.

Read more:

Beirut blast: Damages at $3-5 billion, 300,000 people displaced, says Governor

Beirut blast killed 100, injured over 4,000: Lebanese Red Cross

Beirut blast: Ammonium nitrate fertilizer behind many industrial accidents

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