Source - Lebanon has placed every official responsible for the security of Beirut's port for the last six years under house arrest as it investigates a massive explosion which has devastated the city.
The country's political leaders vowed those responsible for the tragedy would 'pay the price', but customs officials pointed the finger of blame back at them - saying they were repeatedly warned of the danger but failed to act.
It came as an astonishing photo emerged, purporting to show the dock's Warehouse 12 filled with ammonium nitrate - with the highly explosive chemical stored in simple construction sacks with no other protection in place.
The dangerous load is understood to have been abandoned by Russian businessman Igor Grechushkin in September 2013 before eventually being transferred to the port where it remained for six years.
A ship carrying the load was detained en route from Batumi, in the ex-Soviet republic Georgia, to Mozambique, and never recovered.
On Tuesday evening a fire that started in Warehouse 9 ignited 2,750 tons of the chemical - sparking an explosion with three kilotons of force, equivalent to a fifth the size of the Hiroshima nuclear blast.
Raghida Dergham of the Beirut Institute yesterday said: 'Storing Ammonium Nitrate in a civilian port is a crime against humanity that must not go unpunished." ...
The health minister tonight announced the death toll had risen to 135, with some 5,000 wounded and dozens still missing in Beirut, which officials have called a 'disaster city'.
Sweet mother of God. A death toll of 135 and counting. Over 5,000 wounded and counting. A major port that look like the surface of the moon after a meteor strike:
From this blast, as seen from seven different angles:
Interrupting scenes of every day life as normal as a bride-to-be posing in her gown:
Not because of a natural disaster. Not an act of war or collateral damage. Not even a terrorist attack. Just because seven years ago some sketchy Russian businessman:
… was transporting 2,750 tons of a highly volatile chemical, had it confiscated, declared bankruptcy and screwed. Leaving the stuff in the hands of bureaucrats. People who had brains enough to know there was no good reason for a creep like this to have his hands on thousands of tons of explosive materials, but too incompetent to get rid of the stuff or put it to good use.
And now there are even more tons of blood on the hands of a lot of people.
The devastation is enough to make you wonder if Beirut will ever recover. From what's been reported, Lebanon's economy has already been tanking for a while. Unemployment has been a huge problem. Their currency has been in free fall. But those of us who remember the '80s remember how bad it was there then too. And as of today, there are scenes of humanity that give you some hope.
So for the victims, the soon-to-be victims, that grandma and those volunteer workers, we can only hope the rebuild will be completed and the pieces of shit responsible are brought to some semblance of justice.