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Screenshot of aftermath of the explosion in Beirut from Sky News report. YouTube

Apocalypse Beirut

The huge white mushroom cloud stretched out low and wide over the Port of Beirut, and then the sonic blast followed, which registered as a 3,3 magnitude earthquake, felt as far away as Cyprus.

Published: August 6, 2020, 6:23 pm


    The white cloud then lifted and revealed a dark rusty orange colored plume which rose far into the sky at just after 6 pm on the hot summer evening of August 4, reported Steven Sahiounie, journalist and political commentator in Beirut.

    The mammoth disaster started as a fire in the port, which began before 6 pm, and emitted a white plume of smoke. Some local residents were sharing a photo of a welder working with fire on a metal door at the warehouse in the port. The working theory is that the welder inadvertently started the fire, which then ignited various materials stored at the warehouse.

    The materials described are said to be about 2 750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive material, and had been stored at a port warehouse for the past six years “without preventive measures,” according to Prime Minister Hassan Diab, after it had been confiscated years earlier.

    Local residents have said that there were fireworks and other combustibles all stored nearby. During the street protests which rocked Beirut from October 2019, and continued until the Covid-19 lockdown began, fireworks were used extensively as a weapon directed against the police and security forces. It was reported that the Future Party, headed by Saad Hariri, had distributed the fireworks.

    Hassan Koraytem is the General Manager of the Port Authority of Beirut and a member of Hariri’s Future Party, which monitors access to the Port. The general cargo area consists of a grain silo with a capacity of 120 000 tons of grain, and 12 warehouses, which was the area of the fire and then blast, which some have been comparing to a nuclear bomb.

    At least 80 people were killed in the blast and at least 4 000 wounded, Health Minister Hamad Hassan said in a phone interview on Wednesday morning, with dozens still missing.

    The American and Saudi media are trying to pin blame on the Hezbollah Party. However, Lebanese security experts all agree that it would have been impossible, given the fact that the Hezbollah Party does not have any influence at the port.

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    • Rentia Diedericks

      “Taking into account the recent series of military incidents on the Israeli-Lebanese contact line, and in the Israeli-occupied area of the Golan Heights, any new border provocation may easily lead to a larger escalation. The years of war propaganda and military confrontations together with increased tension within Israeli and Lebanese society respectively have already created conditions in which a further, even small, military incident may appear to be enough to provoke a larger war in the region. This large war is in no interest of Tel Aviv or Hezbollah because it will obviously have a devastating impact on both Israel and Lebanon. In this light, it is especially interesting that the Trump administration is making statements that would contribute to this scenario. There is a chance that in a time of a deepening social and political crisis in the US on top of a complicated economic situation in the runup to the next US Presidential election, some hotheads may believe that a new, theoretically ‘victorious’ war in the Middle East, could help them to remain in power.”

      • 4True

        Your hypothetical anti-Trump nonsense has nothing to do with the situation there –nor explains how millions of tons of explosives and weapons got or remained there ( intercepted shipments they say- on way to Hezbollah). Iran has everything to gain by instigating war with Israel by creating anguish and even more hate against Jews. Iran is not a rational actor, with a kamikaze policy of threats of world annihilation of non-believers and establishing a caliphate. Which is Erdogan’s desire as well- it is more likely one of those. Trump believes in human rights, even before birth- Erdogan, Nasrallah and other terrorists do not- it is collateral damage for them.

    • 4True

      Hezbollah has influence anywhere they want in Lebanon. everyone is afraid of them. Also Hezbollah has missile sites in several places in Beruit, including beneath a soccer stadium! (lots of casualties that way should Israel/Europe have to fight back)

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