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Lebanon’s interior minister against international probe into Beirut blasts: Reports

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Lebanon’s interior minister has expressed his objections to an international team joining local investigations into the Beirut explosions, according to local media outlets, adding that a “full and transparent probe would take five days.”

“The investigation of the port explosion will be transparent, take 5 days, and any officials involved will be held accountable,” Lebanese Interior Minister Mohammed Fehmi was quoted as saying by state broadcaster LBC news channel.

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A member of the security forces walks along a smashed-up street near the site of Tuesday's blast in Beirut's port area, Lebanon, August 5, 2020. (Reuters)
A member of the security forces walks along a smashed-up street near the site of Tuesday's blast in Beirut's port area, Lebanon, August 5, 2020. (Reuters)

“The high explosives that were in block 12 were ammonium nitrate and you have to ask customs why they are there. At least 80 percent of the fire has now been controlled at Beirut Port,” Fehmi added later on Wednesday.

Fehmi’s reported statements contradicted those made by Lebanon's four previous prime ministers on Wednesday who called for a UN-backed or Arab League-backed investigative committee to probe the Beirut blasts that killed more than 130 and injured more than 5,000.

Prosecutors in France said they have opened an investigation after 21 French citizens were wounded in the devastating blast at the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut, the Paris prosecutor said.

The prosecutors opened a probe into “involuntary injury” using their jurisdiction to investigate acts committed abroad, Paris prosecutor Remy Heintz said in a statement.

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(With inputs from AFP)