FBI Report: No More Than 552 Tonnes Of Ammonium Nitrate Exploded In Beirut On August 4th

Video Shows Beirut Explosion And Mushroom Cloud From New Angle

No more than 552 tonnes of ammonium nitrate exploded at the Port of Beirut on August 4th, 2020, according to an FBI report released in October.

The report, viewed recently by Reuters, says that only a fifth of the ammonium nitrate shipment that had arrived in Beirut in 2013 exploded last year.

The document does not explain what might have happened to the remaining 2,754 tonnes of the explosive material.

An unnamed senior Lebanese official familiar with the FBI’s findings has told Reuters that the Lebanese authorities agreed with the quantity stated in the report.

The official said that there were no firm conclusions as to why the quantity that had exploded was less than the original shipment.

Notably, since the explosion, Lebanese officials have privately expressed their belief that a large part of the shipment had been stolen, according to the news agency.

Another theory, according to the aforementioned official, is that the rest of the ammonium nitrate was launched to sea during the explosion.

The FBI, which sent investigators to Beirut in the aftermath of the explosion, submitted its investigative report on the blast back in October.

The Bureau said at the time that it had not reached a firm conclusion regarding the cause of the blast.

It is worth noting that the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) had reported back in 2020 that, according to the investigation of three European intelligence sources, the amount that devastated Beirut was only a portion of the initial 2,750 tonnes. 

With the first anniversary of the national tragedy right around the corner, there are still more questions than answers surrounding one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions in history.

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