The Lebanese Presidency announced, on Wednesday, that it had informed the Supreme Council of Defense in the Presidency of the Council of Ministers of the presence of ammonium nitrate in the Beirut port, which was subjected to a massive explosion.
The statement said that the military and security advisor to the President of the Republic informed the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Defense of the Issue as soon as President Michel Aoun received a report from the General Directorate of State Security about “the presence of a large quantity of ammonium nitrate in one of the wards of the Beirut port”.
The presidency pointed out that “the Secretary-General of the Council (the Supreme Council of Defense) has informed the text of the report as stated in his explanatory statement on August 8, 2020, and referred it to the relevant references”.
The Presidency affirmed “its keenness for the judicial and forensic investigation to take its full extent in accordance with the applicable texts, using all the experiences it sees to clarify the full truth about the explosion, its circumstances, and those responsible for it at all levels”.
The Lebanese Presidency had submitted a report to the Supreme Council to defend the presence of this substance in the port.
The General Secretariat of the Supreme Defense Council denied, earlier, that the General Directorate of State Security had submitted a report to the Presidency of the Government on the shipment of ammonium nitrate.
In the statement, Lebanese Presidency did not receive any correspondence in this regard, except for the one that was received on July 22, 2020, and took the necessary action, and referred it based on the directives of the Prime Minister Hassan Diab to the Ministries of Justice and Works on July 24.
On August 4, the Lebanese capital spent a bloody night, as a result of a huge explosion in the Beirut port, which left 171 dead, more than 6 thousand wounded, and dozens missing, in addition to massive material damage, with losses estimated at 15 billion dollars, according to unlimited official figures.
According to preliminary official estimates, the port explosion occurred in Warehouse No.12, which the authorities said contained about 2,750 tons of “ammonium nitrate”, a highly explosive substance that had been confiscated and stored since 2014.
The explosion prompted Diab’s government to resign, on Monday, after it replaced Saad Hariri’s government since February 11, which was forced by popular protests raising economic and political demands to resign, on October 29.
The explosion of the port adds to the pain of a country that has been suffering for months from the repercussions of an economic crisis that is the worst in its modern history, as well as from severe political polarization, in a scene where regional and international parties overlap.
On Wednesday, Aoun said that the losses resulting from the explosion at the Beirut port last week exceeded $ 15 billion, according to the official National Information Agency.
“Initial estimates of losses suffered by Lebanon exceed $ 15 billion,” the agency quoted Aoun as saying during a phone call with Spain’s King Felipe VI, referring to “other material losses” and “the need for building materials to rebuild the affected neighborhoods”.
On the other hand, the Lebanese judiciary will start from Friday to a number of former and current ministers who fall within the port of Beirut within the scope of their responsibilities, for questioning about the storage of huge quantities of ammonium nitrate in Warehouse No.12, according to a judicial source reported by Agence France-Presse.
The source said that the attorney general at the Court of Cassation, Judge Ghassan Khoury, “will start the investigation Friday with the former Minister of Works Ghazi al Aridi, and that next week he summons the former labor ministers Ghazi Zaiter, Youssef Fenianos and Michel Najjar (the caretaker government), in addition to a number of former finance and justice ministers”, as part of the file of the terrible explosion that occurred at the port on the fourth of August.