Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab has revealed that a probe into the ammonium nitrate at Beirut Port had started hours before their detonation on August 4th.
On the evening of August 3rd, Diab tasked the ministers of public works and justice with conducting a probe into nearly 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate that had been stored at Beirut Port for years, the caretaker PM said in an interview with CNN.
“… Setting it alight will cause a large explosion and its outcome will be the near-total destruction of the port,” read a warning on documents sent to the ministries at the time and seen by CNN recently.
Diab’s office indicated that caretaker Public Works Minister Michel Najjar reviewed the aforementioned documents on August 3rd before instructing officials in the ministry to follow up on the probe.
The ministry received the documents with a stamp dated August 4th, the day Beirut was devastated by the blast.
Diab was recently charged with negligence over the deadly port explosion. In his defense, he said his hands were clean and refused to cooperate with Judicial Investigator Judge Fadi Sawwan.
“Everything that’s happening is suspicious,” Diab said in the Wednesday interview, pointing out that there’s “something that’s unexplainable, the timing of this, what’s happening.”
“You must ask the questions: Who brought the ship? Who owns it? Who paid for it? Who was silent about it for seven years?”
These questions have supposedly been tackled in the local investigation that was launched in the aftermath of the blast that killed more than 200 people, injured thousands, and displaced and traumatized countless others, including many children.
However, more than four months have passed without a tangible outcome of what was initially announced to be a 5-day investigation.