18:47 GMT26 September 2020
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    The powerful blast killed more than 200 people ( numbers provided by the United Nations Refugee Agency), injured 6,000 and displaced as many as 300,000. According to Lebanon’s president Michel Aoun the accident affected half of the city and the cost of damage amounts to $ 15 billion.

    Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah said Israel will pay the price if it turns out it was behind the deadly explosion that hit Lebanon’s capital Beirut on 4 August.

    Lebanese officials said the blast was caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate – a chemical compound used in agriculture as a fertiliser, but can also be used in explosives – that was stored unsafely in a warehouse at the port. The chemical compound detonated after a fire occurred at a warehouse. What caused the fire is unknown.

    Together with international investigators, including from the United States, Lebanese officials plan to establish the cause of the tragedy. US President Trump previously claimed that the explosion might not have been an accident, but a "terrible attack".

    After the tragedy occurred, Israel’s Channel 13 claimed that Hezbollah, a Lebanese political party that also has a military wing and has fought numerous conflicts against Israel, had sought to use the ammonium nitrate stored at the warehouse against the Jewish state, a claim that Nasrallah categorically denied. The Israeli TV channel also recalled how Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in 2018 that Tel Aviv knows about the weapons Hezbollah is storing at the Beirut port and warned the organisation that Israel "will not let" it "get away with it".

    Israel has denied responsibility for the powerful explosion after reports emerged that Tel Aviv could be responsible. Hezbollah initially denied reports that the explosion occurred as a result of a missile attack. Israeli president Reuven Rivlin offered his condolences to the Lebanese people, while the Israeli government offered humanitarian help and Israeli hospitals said they would be willing to receive patients from Beirut.

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    Tags:
    Israel, explosion, Beirut, Hezbollah
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