Beirut blast investigation must be ‘thorough, transparent’: Senior US official

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A senior US official called on Saturday for a “thorough, transparent and credible” investigation into this month’s Beirut port blast that killed at least 178 people and injured 6,000.

“We can never go back to an era in which anything goes at the port or the borders of Lebanon that had to contribute to this situation,” David Hale, US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs, said.

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The Aug. 4 blast, which the authorities say was caused by more than 2,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that had been unsafely stored at the port since 2013, damaged swathes of the city and left 300,000 homeless. Some 30 people remain missing.

“Every sovereign state controls its ports and its borders thoroughly and I imagine all Lebanese would like to return to that era,” Hale said after visiting the port.

He added that FBI agents would be arriving this weekend to help find out what exactly happened and “what led to the circumstances of this explosion”.

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UN launches $565 mln appeal to help Lebanon recover from Beirut explosion

In a visit to Beirut on Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said international efforts should help Lebanon rather than “impose anything on it”.

Iran backs the heavily armed Shia group Hezbollah, Lebanon’s most powerful group, which is listed as a terrorist organisation by the United States.

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