'Impossible' that Hezbollah arms caused Beirut blast, president says

Lebanon president says 'impossible' that Beirut port blast was caused by Hezbollah arms
2 min read
18 August, 2020
Lebanon's President Aoun said it was "impossible" that weapons belonging to powerful militant group Hezbollah had caused the Beirut explosion.
Aoun echoed comments made by his party's political ally, Hezbollah. [Getty]
Lebanese President Michel Aoun told an Italian outlet that Hezbollah's arms causing the Beirut port blast was not possible, but called for the claims to be investigated regrardless.

In an interview with Corriere della Sera published on Tuesday, Aoun echoed comments made by his party's political ally, Hezbollah, earlier in the month.

Asked if Iran-backed Hezbollah's weapons were stored at the port and had caused the deadly blast, Aoun said: "Impossible, but serious events like these light up spirits and imagination".

Aoun said that people had been circulating the hypothesis and that "even this lead will be investigated".

Lebanese authorities are investigating the cause of the Beirut explosion, currently believed to have been caused by 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored at a warehouse by the port. The FBI has also joined the probe alongside other international investigators.

The disaster has killed at least 177 people, injuring over 6,500 and destroying swathes of the city.

Aoun said the probe is looking into whether neglect, an accident or "external interference" had caused the explosion. "Although it seems that [the explosion] has been an accident, I want to avoid being accused of not having listened to every voice," Aoun told the outlet.

Read also: Beirut blast: 2,750 tonnes of government negligence

Aoun also commented on alleged witness reports claiming to have seen airplanes fly by the port just before the blast. Although the claims are "not very credible", they should be investigated, the Lebanese leader said.

In a televised speech days after the disaster, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah denied accusations that his group's weaponry is warehoused at the Beirut port.

Israel has also denied involvement in the blast.

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