World, Middle East

Lebanon detains 19 suspects in port explosion

Beirut Port general manager, customs general manager among those detained

Zehra Nur Düz   | 08.08.2020
Lebanon detains 19 suspects in port explosion BEIRUT, LEBANON - AUGUST 07: General view of damaged site is seen as search and rescue operations continue after a fire at a warehouse with explosives at the Port of Beirut led to massive blasts on 4th August, in Beirut, Lebanon on August 07, 2020. ( Houssam Shbaro - Anadolu Agency )

BEIRUT

Authorities in Lebanon detained 19 suspects Friday following a massive explosion earlier this week at the Port of Beirut that left at least 154 people dead and nearly 5,000 injured, local media reported.  

The General Manager Beirut Port Hassan Koraytem; Lebanese Customs General Manager Bedri Zahir and former Customs General Manager Shefik Mari were among those detained as part of an investigation into the blast Tuesday, state-run National News Agency reported.

The agency previously reported authorities detained 16 employees.

A fire at a warehouse at the port led to a huge blast causing massive property damage in several neighborhoods in the capital.

Dozens are still missing under the rubble.

The government, which blamed the blast on a large quantity of ammonium nitrate stored in the port, said Wednesday that an investigation is underway which will take five days.

The blast rocked Lebanon while the country is experiencing its worst economic crisis, including a dramatic drop in the value of the pound against the dollar.  

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz in Ankara

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