FBI: Only 500 Tonnes Of The Ammonium Nitrate Exploded At Beirut Port

@_sami.ibrahim | Reuters/Chip East

The Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States has found the August 4 Beirut Port explosion was caused by only 500 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, rather than the previously believed 2,750 tonnes. 

This was announced Tuesday by Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab who was recently charged over the Beirut blast, which killed 200 and left thousands injured and homeless.

Speaking to reporters, Diab said, “The FBI report revealed that the amount that exploded is only 500 tonnes.” He wondered, “Where did the (other) 2,200 tonnes go?”

An investigative report published by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) found that, in 2015, an inspection revealed that around 1,900 bags of the 1-tonne ammonium nitrate bags were ripped and spilling the chemical.

The OCCRP reported that, according to three European intelligence sources, it was likely the amount that devastated Beirut was merely a fraction of the 2,750 tonnes. 

They believe the size of the explosion was more likely the result of 700 to 1,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, otherwise, it would have been more deadly.

In October, the FBI submitted its report to lead investigative judge Fadi Sawan, who had not made the contents of the report public.

The FBI had reported that their investigation had reached no conclusion into determining whether the blast was intentional or not.

It’s almost 5 months since the disaster and the investigation is yet to lead to any result.

In fact, it is only being obstructed by politicians, including the interior minister, who refuse to comply with Judge Sawan, who was met with heavy criticism after charging Diab and three former ministers.

Currently, the investigation has been suspended after two indicted ministers requested that another judge handle the case.