‘Impossible’ that Hezbollah arms caused Beirut port blast – Lebanon’s president
President Michel Aoun has dismissed the idea that a massive explosion in Beirut earlier this month was caused by a blast from a deposit of arms warehoused by the Lebanon-based Hezbollah movement.
All possibilities will be investigated, Aoun told Italian daily Corriere della Sera in an interview published on Tuesday.
He said that Hezbollah did not store weapons at the port. “Impossible, but serious events like these light up spirits and imagination,” Aoun remarked.
His comments echoed the statement made by Hezbollah’s leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, earlier this month.
Nasrallah denied accusations that his heavily armed movement had weaponry warehoused at Beirut’s port. He has said the group will wait for the results of the investigation, but warned that if it turns out to be an act of sabotage by Israel then it will “pay an equal price.” Israel has denied any involvement in the blast.
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Massive amounts of ammonium nitrate warehoused unsafely for years detonated at the port to on August 4, killing 178 people, injuring 6,000 and causing damage in the city.
The probe in Beirut is looking into whether neglect, an accident or “external interference” caused the blast, according to Aoun. “Although it seems that [it] has been an accident, I want to avoid being accused of not having listened to every voice,” Aoun said.
Some people claimed they saw airplanes fly by the port just before the blast, he noted. Although such theories are “not very credible,” they should be listened to, according to him.
The president has rejected any international probe into the Beirut port blast, as many demanded during protests after the explosion. Aoun said that Lebanon’s judicial system requires investigations of internal issues without other states’ interference.
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