Egypt moves ‘dangerous materials’ from airports after Lebanon’s massive explosion

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Egypt’s civil aviation ministry said that after Lebanon’s massive explosion last week it was moving “dangerous materials” held at airports nationwide to more secure locations.

The ministry is “taking precautionary measures with regards to dangerous materials, either immediately releasing them or transferring them to safe storage spaces well outside the range of airports and residential areas,” it said in a statement Sunday.

The statement referred to materials held in “cargo bays and storage warehouses in Cairo’s airport and all airports nationwide,” without specifying which kind of materials would be moved.

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The announcement came after an unsecured stock of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse in Beirut’s port exploded last Tuesday, killing at least 158 people and wounding 6,000 others.

“A committee will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of all procedures applied inside the storage areas... in order to address any risks before they arise,” Egypt’s civil aviation minister, Mohamed Manar, was quoted as saying.

The Beirut blast left a 43-metre (141 foot) deep crater at the port and wreaked destruction across swathes of the capital.

In a similar move, Iraqi authorities have removed “high-risk items” from Baghdad International Airport, according to the Iraqi News Agency, amid fears following the devastating blast that struck Beirut port less than a week ago.

Al Arabiya English's Ismaeel Naar contributed to this report.

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