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Beirut explosion leaves thousands homeless

by Seth Johnson
Posted 8/05/20, 06:11 pm

Israel displayed the Lebanese flag in lights on Tel Aviv’s city hall on Wednesday in a gesture of solidarity with one of its enemies. The European Union said it was activating its civil protection system to send firefighters and rescue equipment to Beirut. A massive explosion there on Tuesday killed at least 135 people and injured more than 5,000. Shockwaves ripped miles inland with the effect of a 3.3 magnitude earthquake. Lebanon’s health minister said the blast rendered the homes of up to a quarter of a million people unfit to live in.

What do we know about the explosion? Officials are still investigating the storage of more than 2,700 tons of explosive ammonium nitrate at the port but have not released any statements. Authorities placed several port officials under house arrest over reports of negligence. A 2017 letter began circulating online from the head of the customs department warning about the dangerous stockpile and asking for a ruling to remove it.

Dig deeper: Read Mindy Belz’s report on the aftermath of the disaster.

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Seth Johnson

Seth is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute student course.

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