An explosion in Beirut
As a result of a strong explosion on Tuesday in the port of Beirut, near the Lebanese naval base, more than 100 people died, and 4,000 were injured. The Lebanese Ministry of Health reported that the city hospitals are over-crowded, and the victims are being sent to the outskirts of Beirut. The residential buildings of city were damaged. The building of the Russian embassy was damaged as well — one of its employees was injured. The buildings of other diplomatic missions were damaged. 48 UN staff were injured. Kataib Nizar Najaryan, the General Secretary of the Lebanese Party, was killed. The family and advisers of the Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab were injured. After an emergency meeting of the Lebanese Supreme Defense Council, which was chaired by the President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, Beirut was declared a disaster area. A state of emergency was introduced in the city from 4th to 18th of August. The Supreme Defense Council of Lebanon has established a special commission to investigate the emergency. The exact cause of the explosion hasn’t been reported. The Lebanese Interior Minister, Mohammad Fahmi, stated that it was an explosion of stored ammonium nitrate. According to the mass media reports — more than 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded during welding works. The »Al Mayadeen» TV reported with a reference to the security forces that it was a detonation of the «explosive substances», confiscated 9 years ago. The head of the Lebanese secret service, Abbas Ibrahim, believes that it is too early to consider the event to be a terrorist attack.
The head of the Lebanese customs service, Badri Daher, told to the »OTV» that the Lebanese authorities plan to complete the investigation of the explosion in Beirut, on Tuesday, within 5 days. “We hope to reach a clear result in the course of the investigation within 5 days” he said and added that the President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, and the Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, had already given their instructions. The governor of Beirut, Marwan Abboud, told to the »OTV» that 10 firefighters died while extinguishing the fire after the explosion. The ‘TASS’ agency reported that the Russian Emergencies Ministry is sending a mobile hospital with doctors to Beirut in order to provide an assistance to the victims of the explosion. A total of 5 aircraft will be sent.
The Lebanese President, Michel Aoun, announced that Lebanon is facing a severe economic crisis as a result of the explosion in Beirut. «We are experiencing an unprecedented economic crisis. Whoever is behind the explosion will suffer the most severe punishment» — the »Al Arabiya» TV quoted his words. The governor of Beirut, Marwan Abboud, estimated the damage from the explosion in the port at 3 to 5 billions of dollars. «About 300,000 people were left homeless due to the explosion» — the »Al Arabiya» TV quoted his words. The governor underlined that the consequences of the explosion affected more than a half of the territory of the Lebanese capital.
4 Syria — the USA
‘The New York Times’ reported that the officials from the administration of the US President are determined to tighten the sanctions against Syria under the American «Caesar Act». ‘The New York Times’ quoted the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East Affairs, Joel Rayburn. He said that the sanctions «will never end» until «the Syrian regime and their allies agree to a change of the government» — end of quote. ‘The New York Times’ noted that many experts doubt that such approach will let the USA to achieve their desired goals without active diplomatic efforts. «Sanctions alone can’t solve the problem» — ‘The New York Times’ quoted the former director of the US Treasury’s Office of the Foreign Assets Control, John Smith. ‘The New York Times’ added that the imposition of the US sanctions against Syria hurts the Syrian population. ‘The New York Times’ quoted Basma Alush, an advisor to the ‘Norwegian Fund for Refugees’, an international non-profit organization. She stated that the USA «do not pay enough attention to the unintended consequences of the imposition of sanctions.»