Beirut explosion death toll rises to 171, says the health ministry

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The death toll from Beirut’s massive August 4 explosion has climbed to 171, a health ministry spokesman told AFP on Tuesday.

The new figure, up from 160, came exactly one week since the mega-blast ravaged swathes of the Lebanese capital, wounding more than 6,000 and temporarily displacing 300,000 people from their homes.


At 6:08 pm in Beirut on Tuesday, church bells rang and mosques called for prayer at the precise moment a massive explosion ravaged the Lebanese capital a week earlier.

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The last two weeks of tumultuous change in Lebanon have revealed a country suffering from a chronic disease – one that the Lebanese people have long diagnosed but struggled to cure.

In a related development, a US contractor spotted and reported the ammonium nitrate that led to last week's deadly explosions, during a security inspection to the Port of Beirut in 2016, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

“The diplomatic cable, marked unclassified but sensitive, was issued by the United States Embassy in Lebanon on Friday,” the New York Times said about a cable that included the details of the contractor’s findings who was working with the US Army at the time.

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