Beirut port fire hits warehouse where food aid stored: Red Cross

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The International Committee of the Red Cross on Thursday said its humanitarian operations risked serious disruption as a fire at Beirut port hit a warehouse containing its food aid.

“The warehouse on fire is where ICRC stocks thousands (of) food parcels and 0.5 million” liters of oil, ICRC regional director Fabrizio Carboni said.

“The extent of the damage still remains to be established. Our humanitarian operation risks to be seriously disrupted,” he added.

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Lebanon's president said the fire at the port in Beirut could have been an “intentional act of sabotage, the result of a technical error, ignorance, or negligence.”

"In all cases, the cause needs to be known as soon as possible, and those responsible held to account," President Michel Aoun said, according to his office.

A large fire erupted at Beirut port on Thursday, engulfing parts of the Lebanese capital in a pall of smoke weeks after a massive blast devastated the port and surrounding residential area.

The blaze began in the shattered duty-free zone of the port, prompting some residents to flee the city still traumatized by last month’s explosion which followed a port fire.

Army helicopters dropped water as firefighters battled on the ground to bring the blaze under control. By evening, officials said most flames had been extinguished. Smoke still rose from smoldering wreckage but it was far less dense.

The August 4 port explosion of hundreds of tonnes of ammonium nitrate killed more than 190 people, wounded thousands, and ravaged homes and businesses across much of the capital.

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(With Reuters)

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