One month on from explosion, over 4 tonnes of explosive chemicals found at Beirut Port

Beirut Port

Lebanon’s army reported that it had found 4.35 tonnes of ammonium nitrate near the entrance to the Beirut port, the site of the catastrophic  blast last month caused by a large stockpile of the same highly explosive chemical. 

There were no details on the origin of the chemicals or their owner.

According to an army statement,the chemicals were found outside entrance nine to the port.

Army experts were called in for an inspection who found 4.35 tonnes of the dangerous chemical in four containers stored near the port, according to the military.

This discovery comes nearly a month after a catastrophic explosion on August 4 ripped through the city, killing around 190 people.

The authorities believed it was caused by about 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that had been stacked in unsafe conditions in a port warehouse for years.

The blast smashed entire neighbourhoods, gutting buildings and injuring 6,000 people.

Signs of life under the rubble of collapsed building

After nearly a month of the devastating blast, Lebanese rescue workers detected signs of life on Thursday in the rubble of a collapsed building in the Gemmayze area of Beirut.

A team with a rescue dog had detected movement under the rubble.

On Wednesday night, a sniffer dog used by Chilean rescuers responded to a scent from the site, the city’s governor Marwan Abboud told reporters at the scene. 

“There could be survivors,” said Aboud, explaining that scanners had detected a pulse, however faint the hope of finding anyone alive more than four weeks after the explosion.

International experts, investigators come together for Lebanon

Days following the blast, French and Italian chemical experts working amidst the remains of the port identified more than 20 containers carrying dangerous chemicals. The army later said that these containers were moved and stored safely in locations away from the port. 

French experts as well as the FBI are lending a hand in the investigation into the blast, at the request of Lebanese authorities. Their findings have yet to be released.

So far, authorities have detained 25 people over last month’s explosion, most of them port and customs officials.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun ordered repairs to be made to the old refuelling infrastructure at Beirut airport and called for an investigation into a report that thousands of litres of fuel had leaked from the system.

Beirut airport head Fadi el-Hassan told a news conference earlier Thursday that a leak of 84,000 litres of fuel had occurred in March 2019 and repairs were completed in two months. He said international investigators had described the repairs as “satisfactory” and said that there was “no explosion waiting”.  

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