"I warned them that it could destroy Beirut if it exploded" affirm the President and the Lebanese Prime Minister

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"I warned them that it could destroy Beirut if it exploded" affirm the President and the Lebanese Prime Minister

"I warned them that it could destroy Beirut if it exploded," a senior Lebanese security source told Reuters, revealing the existence of a confidential letter sent to President Aoun and Prime Minister Diab on July 20.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun and head of government Hassan Diab have been aware since July 20 of the presence of 2.750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate in the port of Beirut, two senior security sources tell Reuters on condition of anonymity .

They specify that a report, which Reuters says it has consulted, was sent to them, warning of the risk posed by this stock which "Can destroy the capital if it explodes".

Reuters says that a July 20 report from the State Security Bureau dated July 20 was sent to President Aoun and his prime minister Diab. The document summarizes the findings of a judicial inquiry opened in January and led by Attorney General Ghassan Oweidat.

He asks the authorities to immediately secure the stock of ammonium nitrate at the port of Beirut after breaches of safety instructions were noted.

Even more troubling, one of the two sources told the media that a private letter to the head of state and the prime minister was attached to the report. She points out that the two men have been informed personally and ordered to act urgently.

"I warned them"

"There was a risk that this material, if stolen, could be used in a terrorist attack", explains the security official who claims to have participated in the drafting of the letter in question. "I warned them that it could destroy Beirut if it exploded"he adds.

Contacted by Reuters about this confidential letter, the offices of the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister declined to comment.

In January, following the discovery of a hole in a wall of the hangar where the 2.750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate were stored and the finding that one of its doors was damaged, an investigation was opened by a judge and entrusted to Attorney General Ghassan Oweidat, details the second source to Reuters. She specifies that the hangar was not even guarded.

At the end of the investigation, in his final report, the Attorney General Oweidat asks that "renovation work on the walls and the damaged door be immediately launched, in order to prevent any risk of theft," explains this source. The prosecutor also demands that the hangar be monitored, she points out.

"I am not responsable!"

Last week, President Michel Aoun told reporters he had been informed of the presence of the stockpile of ammonium nitrate in the port of Beirut, Reuters reported. He says he ordered the secretary general of the Supreme Defense Council (a council bringing together all the Lebanese security and military agencies under the authority of the Head of State) to "Do what is necessary".

“The General Directorate of State Security said it was dangerous. I am not responsable! I don't know where it was placed [the stock of ammonium nitrate, editor's note] and I didn't know how dangerous it was ”, then justified President Aoun.

“I have no authority to deal directly with the port. There is a hierarchy and all those who knew should have assumed their responsibilities to do what is necessary ”, he concluded. The latest official report dated August 4 shows 158 dead, 6.000 injured and nearly 300.000 homeless.

This article appeared first on: https://onvoitout.com/le-president-et-le-1er-ministre-libanais-savait-que-ca-pouvait-detruire-beyrouth-si-ca-explosait/

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