• Beirut, President Aoun: "A missile or a bomb cannot be ruled out"
  • Beirut: Unicef, 80 thousand displaced children, many family members are missing
  • In Beirut at least 157 dead and 5 thousand injured. Italian military wounded: very loud, indescribable roar
  • Beirut, Farnesina sources: Italian death in the explosion
  • Explosions in Beirut: the European satellite shows damage over 4 square kilometers
  • Destruction and death in Beirut, the testimony of witnesses: "It was hell"


08 August 2020

Over 60 people are still missing in Beirut after the explosion that devastated the port and several districts of the Lebanese capital on 4 August. Local authorities have made it known, writes AFP.

The Ministry of Health explained that "154 have died, including 25 who have not yet been identified" and "there are also over 60 people who are still missing", while rescuers continue to dig through the rubble produced by the powerful explosion. looking for possible survivors. Yesterday the Ministry of Health announced that of the 5,000 injured at least 120 are in critical condition.

Among the victims, the Dutch media reported, the wife of the Dutch ambassador to Lebanon. Hedwig Waltmans-Molier, 55, was seriously injured while she was in the living room of her residence with her husband. Molier was an employee of the Dutch Foreign Ministry. The couple returned to Lebanon last week after the holidays.

In Beirut "day of anger and sadness"
The Lebanese are preparing to commemorate the victims of the explosions in the capital this afternoon with a mass demonstration to demand "Justice for the victims, revenge against the regime".

"Only the Lebanese people will commemorate the victims, we do not want authorities", explained the organizers, quoted by the Dpa. "This will be a day of anger and sadness," commented Lina Boubis, one of them. "It was the negligence of the Lebanese government that caused this tragedy", echoed Wissam Harake, another of the organizers.

Kataeb Christian party deputies to resign
Lebanese Christian Kataeb party president Samy Gemayel announced that the group's three deputies in parliament will step down in protest against the government over this week's deadly explosion. Gemayel spoke at the funeral of a senior party official who was killed by the explosion at the port of Beirut. The party is part of the opposition and is known for its harsh criticism of the government, supported by Hezbollah and its allies. The Lebanese parliament has 128 members and some MPs have announced that they will step down in protest against widespread corruption. Marwan Hamadeh has already resigned this week.

EU, Michel in Beirut today to testify "solidarity"
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, left for Lebanon for a visit intended to testify 'solidarity' to the Lebanese people. The former Belgian premier, who said he was "moved and saddened" by the tragedy, is scheduled to meet later in the day with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Hassan Diab, and President of Parliament Nabih Berri. Michel will be the only representative of the European institutions to visit Lebanon: at the moment the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, has no plans to travel to the country.

The CDM approves a state of emergency due to foreign intervention
The Council of Ministers, on the proposal of President Giuseppe Conte, approved the declaration of a state of emergency for intervention abroad as a result of the exceptional events that hit the city of Beirut, in Lebanon, August 4, 2020. This is what we learn from the press release issued by Palazzo Chigi with the decisions taken by the Council of Ministers which met last night under the presidency of President Giuseppe Conte.

From the US 3 planes with aid
Three large planes loaded with medicines, food, water and emergency equipment were sent from the United States to help with the rescue operations. The announcement was made by the White House, with a statement retweeted by President Donald Trump on his account in which there is also news of a telephone conversation between the leader of the White House and Lebanese President Michel Aoun.

Trump: tomorrow aid videoconference with Macron
The US president also announced on Twitter that on Sunday he will participate in an international videoconference of donors in support of Lebanon. "We will have a videoconference on Sunday with President Macron, leaders from Lebanon and other parts of the world. Everyone wants to help," he wrote.

Aoun: bomb or missile cannot be ruled out
Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that it cannot be ruled out that the two explosions on Tuesday may have been the result of "an external attack, with the aid of a missile, of a bomb or another means ". The investigation will have to ascertain whether it was precisely an "external aggression or the consequences of negligence", added Aoun, underlining that to this end he asked the French President Emmanuel Macron, the day before yesterday visiting Beirut, to provide satellite images of the moments of the explosions. So far the authorities have said that the disaster was caused by the explosion of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored for years in the port of Beirut, but they have not explained how the explosion was triggered. The investigation, Aoun underlined, takes place at three levels: "First, to ascertain how the explosive material entered and was stored, second whether the explosion was the result of negligence or an accident, third the possibility that there has been external interference ".

Moreover, the Lebanese president yesterday rejected requests for an international investigation into the explosions, made by various parties, including French President Emmanuel Macron during a visit to Lebanon. The website of the newspaper An Nahar writes, reporting statements made by Aoun during a meeting with a group of journalists. Calls for an international inquiry aim to "distort the truth," Aoun added, noting that any verdict loses meaning if it takes too long to deliver.

Nasrallah: we did not have weapons depots in the port
The leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, strongly denies that last Tuesday's explosion that devastated Beirut was caused by the explosion of weapons deposited by the Party of God in the port of Beirut. "They are all lies and lies," Nasrallah said, referring to the accusations, made by various parties, against Hezbollah, of being responsible for the disaster that killed more than 150 people.

Port manager arrested
In Beirut, meanwhile, the port manager was arrested as part of the investigation into the terrifying explosion that took place on Tuesday. Local media reports. Hassan Qureitem was arrested by the Lebanese army military police after being questioned under the supervision of the prosecutor leading the investigation. Authorities questioned more than 18 port and customs officials and others involved in maintenance work on the warehouse that exploded on Tuesday and 16 were placed in custody. The port director general and the chief of customs, also under arrest, told Lebanese broadcasters Wednesday that several letters had been sent over the years to the country's judiciary demanding the removal of highly explosive material stored in the port. According to authorities, nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate, used for fertilizers but also for making bombs, had been kept for six years without security measures in the exploded warehouse. 16 members of port personnel were also arrested, the Lebanese state press agency reported, citing sources from the Lebanese prosecutor.

Cyprus police interrogate shipowner loaded with ammonium nitrate
Cypriot police questioned a Russian citizen about his alleged links with the ship carrying the ammonium nitrate cargo which was stored in the port of Beirut and exploded in the Lebanese capital. "The Lebanese authorities asked us to locate the man and ask him some questions, which we did," a spokesman for the Cypriot police said. "His deposition was sent to Lebanon," the spokesman said, stating that Igor Grechushkin was not arrested, but was interrogated on matters relating to the cargo of the ship as requested by Interpol Lebanon.

Yesterday, the Cypriot Minister of the Interior denied media rumors that Grechushkin also had a Cypriot passport. According to the Cypriot newspaper Politis, Grechushkin is a resident of the southern port city of Limassol, one of the world's largest centers for ship management. In 2013, approximately 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate arrived in Lebanon on the Rhosus ship, which sailed from Georgia and bound for Mozambique, said a Lebanese security source who requested anonymity. The Russian had chartered the ship which was forced to dock at the port of Beirut due to a technical problem, but which was then seized by the authorities following a lawsuit brought by a Lebanese company against the shipowner.