TEHRAN (Iran News) – The death toll from Tuesday’s catastrophic explosion at the port of Beirut has risen to 158, the Lebanese Health Ministry said on Saturday.
The health minister said on Friday that at least 120 of those who were injured on Tuesday are in critical condition, AFP reported.
The explosion devastated entire districts of the capital, leaving some 300,000 people temporarily homeless.
An investigation by authorities has so far led to 21 arrests, as well as travel bans and asset freezes.
Authorities had said a fire at the port had ignited tons of ammonium nitrate stored there for years. President Michel Aoun said Friday it could have been caused by an attack but rejected calls for an international probe.
“Lebanese sovereignty will not be harmed under my watch,” Aoun told reporters.
‘Nothing’ in port
Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Friday strongly denied that the Lebanese resistance movement had stored arms at Beirut’s port, describing the cataclysmic explosion there as “a major tragedy”.
“We have nothing in the port: Not an arms depot, nor a missile depot nor missiles nor rifles nor bombs nor bullets nor (ammonium) nitrate,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech.
He called the explosion a “major tragedy and humanitarian catastrophe,” saying it required a kind of response that would match its “exceptional” scale.
Nasrallah urged “the army to investigate and announce its findings”.
He said the Lebanese military is in a prime position to do so because it is seen as a “trusted” institution by people and politicians across the spectrum.
The Hezbollah leader warned against delays in the probe, saying: “If the Lebanese state and the political class… do not reach a conclusion in the investigations this means… there is no hope to build a state.”
International assistance swiftly flooded into Lebanon after the blast and French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday made a snap visit to Beirut, where he pressed leaders for change and announced an international aid conference in the coming days.
- source : Iran Daily, Irannews