With an unsecured warehouse of ammonium nitrate blamed for a devastating explosion in Beirut, Lebanese security forces have discovered another four ton cache of the hazardous chemical in the city’s blast-shattered port.
Army units operating in the port made the discovery on Thursday, Lebanese media reported. A four ton stash of ammonium nitrate was found inside a shipping container, and was swiftly removed by army engineers.
According to the Akhbar Al-Youm news agency, customs officials at the port were unaware of its presence.
Much of Beirut lies in ruins after a massive explosion last month, and the city’s port – through which three quarters of the country’s imports and exports by sea pass – is completely devastated. A stash of 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate is believed to have fueled the explosion, and had apparently been stored in a portside warehouse in unsafe conditions since 2014.
The port officials who oversaw its storage and security have been arrested, and an investigation is ongoing.
The blast killed at least 190 people, injured more than 6,000, and left around 300,000 homeless. A subsequent wave of public anger brought down Lebanon’s government, and the appointment of a new prime minister this week has done little to quell the unrest, with protesters and riot police clashing in the streets.
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