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The Lebanese prosecutor investigating last summer’s port explosion in Beirut He filed charges Thursday against the acting prime minister and three former ministers, accusing them of negligence that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people. Lebanon the official news agency said.

Judge Fadi Sawwan brought charges against Hassan Diab and former Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, as well as Ghazi Zeiter and Youssef Fenianos, both former ministers of public works.

Smoke rises from the port facility after major explosions devastated Beirut. (Photo by Marwan Tahtah / Getty Images) (Fake images)
Beirut looked like a war zone after the massive explosion. (CNN)

The explosion was caused by the ignition of a large arsenal of explosive material that had been stored in the port for years, with the knowledge of senior security officials and politicians who did nothing about it.

All four are the highest-ranking individuals ever charged in the investigation, which is being conducted in secret. Anger has been building at the slowness of the investigation, the lack of responses and the fact that no senior official has been prosecuted.

Around 30 other security officials and port and customs officials have been detained in the investigation so far.

The explosion killed dozens of people in Beirut.
The explosion killed more than 200 people in Beirut. (Supplied)

Diab, a former professor at the American University of Beirut who became prime minister late last year, resigned just days after the blast, which washed away the country’s main port and destroyed much of the city. Diab has continued to function as a caretaker, while efforts to form a new government have failed amid political disputes.

Diab said he has a clear conscience and is confident in his “responsible and transparent handling of the port explosion file.”

In a statement issued by his office Thursday afternoon, he said he is “surprised by this goal that goes beyond the person to the post. Hassan Diab will not allow anyone to address the post of prime minister.”

A file photograph of Hassan Diab. (AP)

The explosion is considered to be among the largest non-nuclear explosions ever recorded.

Zeitar was Minister of Transport and Public Works in 2014, followed by Fenianos in 2016, who held the position until early 2020. Khalil was Minister of Finance in 2014, 2016 and until 2020.

Shortly after the explosion, documents emerged showing that, at least 10 times over the past six years, Lebanon’s customs, armed forces, security and judicial authorities raised the alarm that a potentially massive arsenal of chemicals was being maintained. dangerous with almost no protection in the port in the heart of Beirut.

Had the explosion gone off in Sydney’s financial district, it would have smashed windows as far as Strathfield, with the damage zone even extending as far as Manly and south beyond Sydney Airport. (9News)

President Michel Aoun, in office since 2016, said he was first informed about the stock almost three weeks before the explosion and immediately ordered military and security agencies to do “whatever is necessary.” But he suggested that his responsibility ended there, saying that he had no authority over the port and that previous governments had been informed of his presence.

Since the material arrived in Lebanon in late 2013, four prime ministers have been in office for the past seven years.

Najib Mikati, Tammam Salam and Saad Hariri have reportedly said they had no knowledge of the material at the port. Diab has said that he was only informed about the presence of the “explosives” days before and planned to visit the site. He told reporters earlier this year that he canceled his visit to the port after being told the material was fertilizers.

Protests in Beirut as death toll from explosions rises

“You have to make a list of everyone who knew and everyone should be held responsible,” said Elie Hasrouty, whose father was killed in the port explosion. “His job is not to refer (the matter) to others, but to prevent the bomb from exploding and to protect people.”

Investigators investigating the blast have so far focused on Beirut port personnel. Judge Sawwan said he has set next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as the dates to question the four as defendants.

Both Khalil and Fenanios were sanctioned by the United States in September this year, the first two officials to be subjected to those outside the militant group Hezbollah.

Conflicting images capture the scars of Beirut survivors from the explosion of terror

– Reported with Associated Press


www.9news.com.au

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