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Lebanon's President Not Ruling Out External Interference in Beirut Blast By Missile or Bomb Attack

© AP Photo / Hassan AmmarRescue teams scan the Mediterranean Sea on the site of this week's massive explosion in the port of Beirut in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, Aug. 7, 2020. The U.N. human rights office is calling for an independent investigation into the deadly explosion, insisting "victims' calls for accountability must be heard."
Rescue teams scan the Mediterranean Sea on the site of this week's massive explosion in the port of Beirut in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, Aug. 7, 2020. The U.N. human rights office is calling for an independent investigation into the deadly explosion, insisting victims' calls for accountability must be heard.  - Sputnik International
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A massive explosion ripped through Lebanon's capital Beirut late on 4 August, leaving hundreds killed and thousands injured and causing devastating damage to the city. According to authorities, the incident was caused by the improper storage of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate.

Lebanon's President Michel Aoun has not ruled out the possibility of foreign interference in the devastating explosion in the capital Beirut, saying that investigators are inspecting whether a missile or bomb could have been used in the incident.

According to Aoun's statement issued by his office, the investigation into the deadly blast is divided into three stages.

"First, how the explosive material entered and was stored ... second whether the explosion was a result of negligence or an accident ... and third the possibility that there was external interference", the statement read.

The president added that he had asked French President Emmanuel Macron to provide Lebanon with aerial photos to determine whether there was any evidence of aircraft or missiles. He noted that if Paris does not obtain them, Beirut will ask other countries to do it.

Beirut Blast

A massive explosion took place at the port of Beirut late on August 4 and affected nearly half of the capital.

A still image taken from a drone footage shows the damage two days after an explosion in Beirut's port area, Lebanon August 6, 2020 - Sputnik International
EU Chief Charles Michel Heading to Beirut on Saturday in Wake of Deadly Blast

As of Friday, the death toll has grown to 154 and around 5,000 others are injured, of whom 120 are in critical condition.

According to the Lebanese authorities, the blast was linked to improper storage of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate in the port. The three-day mourning period for the victims of the tragedy started on Wednesday and a two-week state of emergency in Beirut is in place, with a possible extension.

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