A Lebanese judge Tuesday charged current and former Customs officials, including one with alleged ties to Hezbollah, over the deadly Aug. 4 Beirut blast.
Tuesday’s ruling brings the total number of suspects charged to 33, including 25 who are in custody and two at-large, the state-run National News Agency reported.
Hani Hajj Shehadi, a member of the Higher Customs Council and a former Port of Beirut chief, Moussa Hazimeh, were charged in connection with the explosion.
An investigative judge will now hear their testimonies after previously subpoenaing them as witnesses in the explosion.
The Associated Press said that Hazimeh was reportedly the point man for Iran-backed Hezbollah at the Port of Beirut when nearly 3,000 tons of highly explosive fertilizer were stored there more than six years ago.
For years, Hezbollah has been accused of using the Port of Beirut to evade taxes and smuggle goods into and out of Lebanon.
The 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate blew up Aug. 4, killing more than 200 people, injuring thousands and causing damage worth billions of dollars, mostly in nearby neighborhoods.
However, no government officials have been held accountable for the deadly blast despite several of them admitting they knew about the stored ammonium nitrate.
- with AP
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