Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 1 December 2020

Lebanese army removing tonnes of ammonium nitrate from Beirut port

A month on from a devastating explosion caused by the same chemical, the military said it has found more at the port

The Lebanese army has found 4.35 tonnes of highly explosive ammonium nitrate near the entrance to the shattered Beirut port a month on from a huge explosion caused by the same chemical.

The military said on Thursday that army engineers were called in to inspect four containers at the port and discovered the ammonium nitrate. They were then “dealing with it” the military said but gave no further details of the find.

On August 4, over 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored for the last 6 years at Beirut port blew up, damaging at least half the city, killing over 190 people and wounding over 6,500.

The blast smashed entire neighbourhoods, gutting buildings.

Lebanon's government quit amid public anger in a nation already brought to its knees by an economic crisis. The public remains anxious that more hazardous materials are being stored badly, putting them at risk.

Earlier on Thursday, President Michel Aoun ordered repairs to be made to 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 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".

News of the leak added to concerns about public safety. "No explosion is awaiting us," Mr El Hassan told the news conference.

Updated: September 3, 2020 08:23 PM

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