Officials in Beirut have launched an investigation into the Tuesday explosion that killed 100 people and wounded thousands more, and the probe could leave hundreds of thousands without a home for a month, The Associated Press reports.
The blast is not being considered an attack, but Lebanese officials do believe people bear responsibility for mismanaging and neglecting 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a Beirut port warehouse since 2013 that likely caused the explosion. Lebanese customs officials reportedly tried for years to get rid of the explosive material and warned of its dangers, but were unsuccessful.
New details from @timourazhari about the M/V Rhosus, the ship suspected to have been the source of the ammonium nitrate in Beirut's port, and the apparently failed efforts by customs officials to get it out of the warehouse https://t.co/oOghqT6OSn pic.twitter.com/l591UvvShV
— Evan Hill (@evanchill) August 5, 2020
Lebanon’s President Michael Aoun on Wednesday vowed to punish those responsible after a transparent investigation into the nitrate’s storage. Shortly after, his Cabinet placed an unspecified number of Beirut port officials under house arrest pending the investigation. The government also declared a state of emergency, effectively giving the military full powers.