An explosion in Lebanon
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 ‘CNN’ reports while citing the e-mail correspondence and the court records, that the Lebanese ministries of transport and justice, as well as other agencies of the country, have been advised against the long storage of the ammonium nitrate cargo in the port of Beirut. The ‘CNN’ quoted a statement from the Lebanese law firm ‘Baroudi & Associates’, which represents the crew of the cargo ship ‘Rhosus’ that delivered the ammonium nitrate to Beirut. The lawyers reported that back in July of 2014 they sent letters to the port administration and the Lebanese Ministry of Transport. Their letters «warned of the danger of the substances on board». It was reported that in the same month, the law firm received a letter from the general director of the land and sea transport, in which he stated that he had sent an official request to the Ministry of Justice to take the necessary measures «to prevent the ship from sinking, and from the harmful effects of the cargo on the port». The Lebanese ministries of justice and transport, and the port administration, didn’t comment on the reports from the ‘CNN’.
Sergei Vorontsov, the head of the operational group of the Russian Emergency Ministry, currently stationed in Beirut, told to the ‘TASS’ news agency that on Friday 25 people in the Lebanese capital are awaiting the medical aid from the Russian doctors. Earlier, an air-mobile hospital of the «Tsentro-spas» detachment from the Russian Emergency Ministry began operating in Beirut. The hospital operates both in a round-the-clock stationary mode, and on an out-patient basis, from 08:00 to 20:00. The head of the hospital department of the ‘Tsentro-Spas’ detachment, Aleksey Skorobulatov, specified that the doctors mainly help people with cut and infected wounds, and people that were injured during the explosion. The Russian rescuers are helping to clear the rubble in the port of Beirut. The bodies of several victims of the explosion were found so far. According to the latest data — at least 149 people died, and about 5,000 were injured. The Lebanese Red Cross Society reports that the number of the missing people is still unknown.
The Syrian news agency ‘SANA’ reported about a repelled Israeli Air Force attack. Some material damage was inflicted on the military installations in south of Syria. The missile strike was launched near the village of Al-Quneitra. The Syrian air defenses opened fire. It wasn’t specified how many missiles reached their targets. There is also no information about the losses among the Syrian servicemen. The IDF press service reported that on Monday, the Israeli UAVs, jet fighters and helicopters attacked the Syrian military targets in the south of Syria. This attack was a response to an attempt by some unknown terrorists to plant explosives at the border fence. The IDF press service stated that «The IDF holds the Syrian government responsible for any activity on the Syrian soil, and will continue to act accordingly against any violation of the Israeli sovereignty». Our military reporter Alexander Kharchenko comments on the situation.
Constantine Reztsov, specially for ANNA NEWS.