FBI involvement in Beirut blast investigation to bring more clarity: Ex-CIA official

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s participation in the probe into the deadly Beirut port blast will bring more clarity into how the disaster occurred, former top CIA official Norman Roule said in an interview with Al Arabiya.

“The FBI will bring an extraordinary array of technical and scientific capacity. They have great experiences in analyzing explosions. And they’re really, really capable of understanding very quickly, I think, how the explosion was ignited,” Roule said.

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The FBI’s presence on the ground has been approved by the Lebanese government, Roule noted.

US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale had announced on Thursday that the FBI would “soon join Lebanese and international investigators at the invitation of the Lebanese … to help answer questions that I know everyone has” about the explosions.

At least 178 people were killed and more than 6,000 others were injured in the capital on Tuesday when a warehouse storing 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate exploded after catching on fire.

The explosion had destroyed entire buildings and shattered windows, leaving around 300,000 people in Beirut homeless.

“The FBI has great experience in examining explosive sites so what they’re going to be looking for is to see what type of ignition occurred, what type of heat occurred at the ignition site, they’re going to want to see stresses on metal, they’re going to want to test for residue of various types of explosive substances,” Roule added.

The United States will be coordinating with French investigators and police, who have already been at the scene in Beirut for several days to reconstruct the chain of events that led to the blast.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s government resigned on August 10 after days of protesters demanding the political elite take responsibility for the disaster.

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