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Lebanon’s PM Diab says Combilift found dangerous substances in Zahrani plant 

Published: Updated:

Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister Hassan Diab said on Friday that German company Combilift report had found dangerous chemicals at oil installations in Zahrani, in the south of the country.

A report by the company was reviewed by Lebanon’s nuclear energy authority and the materials were found to be dangerous nuclear substances, a statement by the country’s higher defense council quoted Diab as saying.

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“This is something that needs to be discussed now and needs to be dealt with promptly,” Diab said in the statement.

His comments came nearly eight months after a stockpile of chemicals detonated in Beirut, killing nearly 200 people in one of the largest non-nuclear explosions on record. The ammonium nitrate went up in flames last August after being stored unsafely at the port for years.

Diab’s cabinet has served in a caretaker capacity since resigning over the devastation that hit much of the Lebanese capital, compounding the country’s financial crisis.

After Lebanon hired Combi Lift last year in the wake of the blast, the German firm said it had found 58 containers at Beirut port that posed a threat to the city. Some of it had been there for more than a decade.

The German ambassador to Beirut, Andreas Kindl, said this month the materials in the containers were packed well but were waiting to be shipped out for disposal in Germany, as Lebanon had yet to make a $2 million payment stipulated in the contract.

Combi Lift spokesman Malte Steinhoff said on Friday the containers were still in Beirut amid talks with Lebanese authorities over financing.

“We...hope to find a solution this month,” he said.

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