3 Customs Officials Questioned Over Latest Batch Of Explosives Found At Beirut Port

Customs Officials Questioned Over 4.35 Tons Of Ammonium Nitrate At Beirut Port
Myriam Boulos/TIME

Just a few weeks after Lebanon emerged from an ammonium nitrate explosion that ravaged its capital, a new batch of the explosive material was discovered next to the explosion site at the Port of Beirut.

3 Customs officials were called in for interrogation on Wednesday by Judicial Investigator Judge Fadi Sawan, reportedly in connection to this distressing discovery.

The Lebanese Army said in a statement last week that its engineers had been tasked with handling 4.35 tons of ammonium nitrate that had been discovered at Beirut Port.

Judge Sawan questioned retired Customs Sgt. Gerges Al-Mudawar, who was then released after he provided proof of residence, in addition to Customs Sgts. Adel Nassar and Mohammad Khatib.

The new stash of unsafely stored ammonium nitrate was one of three scares caused to the Lebanese people by the Port of Beirut in the past week.

On Tuesday, concerned witnesses filmed smoke emerging from the Port in a scene that invoked the haunting image of the red smoke that filled the sky of Beirut following the deadly August 4 explosion.

A bigger fire started around the same spot on Wednesday.

With the latest 3 taken into consideration, the explosion case now has a total of 28 defendants.

Judge Sawan recently interrogated and detained several military officers in connection to the blast, and he will now question a number of officials soon.

According to The Daily Star, the Judge was set to take the testimonies of caretaker Minister of Public Works Michel Najjar and Head of State Security Maj. Gen. Tony Saliba on Thursday.

Additionally, Head of General Security Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim is set to testify before Judge Sawan on Monday.

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