Lebanon’s Beirut port explosion investigator Fadi Sawan was informed by French judges that French satellite imagery of the explosion is unavailable since the satellite was on the move towards Cyprus at the time, sources close to him say.
On Thursday, France said it provided what imagery they have to Lebanese authorities as requested, “considering a satellite is not stationary” of the port of Beirut before the August 4th blast ripped through the capital.
An official in the French presidency stated that France has handed the images to Lebanese authorities contrary to what was rumored in some media outlets, according to Naharnet.
Yet, sources close to the lead investigaor Fadi Sawan note that Sawan was offered before and after images, but they don’t help.
In October, caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab complained that Lebanon has yet to receive the “before, during, and after” images from France and Italy as part of a probe into the explosion.
Satellite imagery could have helped provide more details on one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in the world, and that remains a mystery to date.
To rub salt on the wound, Lebanese officials have rejected an international probe despite demands both from home and abroad for an impartial investigation.
Even though there’s no evidence that the blast wasn’t due to an attack, some Lebanese officials have declined to rule that cause. Instead, negligence and corruption are widely blamed for the disaster that killed more than 200 people, wounded at least 6,500, and displaced thousands more from their homes.
Lebanon’s ruling elite had known for years that ammonium nitrate was stored in a destitute port warehouse without the necessary safety measures.
A local probe has yielded the arrest of at least 25 suspects, including the chief of the port and its customs director.