Beirut explosion: Customs chief, predecessor and Port of Beirut head arrested

Former Lebanese Customs chief Shafik Merhi (L) and current Customs chief Badri Daher (R) are seen in this picture at the Port of Beirut, May 17, 2010. (File Photo: AP)

The head of Lebanon’s Customs Department has been ordered to remain in custody and his predecessor was arrested in connection with the Beirut explosions, the state-run news agency said Friday.

Customs chief Badri Daher was questioned for “more than five hours,” the National News Agency reported, adding that a judge ordered Daher to remain in custody.

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Shafik Merhi, Daher’s predecessor, was also arrested along with the head of the Port of Beirut, Hasan Qoreitem.

Daher previously told Al Arabiya English that Harbor Master of Beirut Port Mohammad el Mawla was responsible for allowing the 2013 shipment of tons of ammonium nitrate into Lebanon. He also said that at least five complaints were sent to Lebanese judges regarding the danger of storing such chemicals between him and his predecessor. “They [judges] never responded and this is not even my prerogative to interfere in,” Daher said.

Lebanese officials admitted to knowing that there were 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate in a warehouse at the port.

On Tuesday, massive explosions killed at least 150 people, wounded over 5,000 and demolished buildings across the capital.

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Last Update: Friday, 07 August 2020 KSA 22:26 - GMT 19:26
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