The Beirut Blast Was Caused by 2,750 Tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate Stored in Port’s Warehouse

Before-and-after pictures of the explosion at Beirut, Lebanon.

Hundreds of people have been wounded in a huge explosion that ripped through Lebanon’s capital, Beirut on Tuesday.

So far, the huge explosion that occurred in the city’s port area, killed at least 73 people, with 3,700 wounded as the blast sent shockwaves, shattering windows and causing apartment balconies to collapse. The blast was felt across the city as a giant mushroom cloud rose above it.

According to Al-Jazeera, Lebanon’s Security General Abbas Ibrahim visited the site of the explosion and said it appears the explosion was caused by highly explosive material that was stored in a warehouse located near the port.

In more detail, Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun stated that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate had been stored for six years at the port without safety measures and said it was “unacceptable”.

A picture shows the scene of an explosion near the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut (source: Al-Jazeera)

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Hassan Diab said in a televised address to the nation that there would be accountability for the deadly blast at the “dangerous warehouse”.

“I promise you that this catastrophe will not pass without accountability… Those responsible will pay the price. Facts about this dangerous warehouse that has been there since 2014 will be announced and I will not preempt the investigations,” he said in a televised speech.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab televised speech on Tuesday (source: Al-Aribiyah English)

If you’re wondering why these explosive materials were stored at the port, here’s a simple breakdown:

Despite these statements by Lebanese leaders, US President Donald Trump weighed in the Beirut blast by saying that “it looks like a terrible attack”, according to The Star. When asked later about his depiction of the explosion, Trump said that he had met with some U.S. generals who feel the blast was not “some kind of a manufacturing explosion type of event”.

While there are many speculations and panic by people all around the world, here’s one thing to remember:

Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound that is predominantly used in agriculture as a high-nitrogen fertiliser. The material is also used for mining explosions and the demolition of buildings.

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