The devastating explosion on Tuesday brought to life for many Lebanese the bitter memories of the years of civil war in the country; Memories of the days when car bombings and street battles, along with Israeli airstrikes, marked a difficult time for the bride of the Middle East.
According to Hamshahri Online(Iranian magazine), quoting from the East, it looks like a nuclear explosion and was similar to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki incidents in Japan; But according to Lebanese officials, the blast was caused by a shipment of ammonium nitrate, estimated to weigh 2,750 tons, and was stored for six years without precautionary measures. The devastating explosion on Tuesday brought to life for many Lebanese the bitter memories of the years of civil war in the country; Memories of the days when car bombings and street fighting, along with Israeli airstrikes, marked a difficult time for the bride of the Middle East. From the very first minutes of the explosion, political speculation began about an attack or a sabotage operation; The first rumor was that Israel had fired rockets at Hezbollah ammunition depots in the port of Beirut.
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What is Ammonium Nitrate?
According to Lebanese officials, the incident was just an accident that port officials had repeatedly warned about the insecurity of the storage facility. According to them, this ammonium nitrate was unloaded from a ship that was stationed in the port of Beirut in 2013 and then stored in one of the warehouses.
Ammonium nitrate is a flammable substance under certain conditions and was one of the substances used in the 1995 Oklahoma bombing that killed 168 people. In 2013, a blast at a fertilizer plant in western Texas killed 14 people and injured about 200, after which researchers found that the blast was caused by ammonium nitrate.
The blast stretched from Martyrs’ Square in downtown Beirut to Dahiya on the Shiite outskirts of southern Beirut. As mentioned, all Lebanese political opposition and pro-government groups are present in this area. According to the governor of Beirut, the amount of damage is about three to five billion dollars and more, and about 300 thousand people have been displaced. “The scale of the tragedy is so great that half the city is devastated and thousands will not be able to return home for another two to three months,” he said. According to published reports, more than 100 people have been killed so far in this incident and the number of injured is estimated at more than 4,000; But even more worrying are the people who went missing after yesterday’s incident.
The Lebanese bombings of 2005
Lebanon is a land of political assassinations; But for most Lebanese, the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on February 14, 2005, may have been the most tragic event in the history of the country before the explosion on Tuesday evening. Since then, the Lebanese have witnessed several explosions, the most important of which we have briefly reviewed:
January 24, 2018: A bomb blast in the city of Sidon injured a member of the Hamas group. The bomber struck as he was about to open his car door.
June 12, 2016: According to the Lebanese Ministry of Interior, a bomb exploded outside the headquarters of Bloombank in Lebanon, causing extensive damage to the center; But there were no casualties.
November 12, 2015: Two suicide bombings by ISIL in a crowded residential area on the southern outskirts of Beirut, in a Lebanese Hezbollah-controlled neighborhood, killed 43 Lebanese and injured 240 others.
January 2, 2014: A car bomb blast in southern Beirut kills five members of Hezbollah in Lebanon. The blast was the latest in a series of deadly attacks targeting Lebanese Shiite or Sunni targets.
June 24, 2014: A security officer is killed after a suicide bomber struck near a Lebanese army checkpoint in Beirut.
December 27, 2013: Mohammed Chateh, a Lebanese minister killed in a massive explosion.
November 19, 2013: Two suicide bombings rocked the Iranian embassy in Lebanon, killing at least 23 people, including a member of the Iranian embassy.
August 15, 2013: A car bomb blast near a Hezbollah base in the Dahya district of southern Beirut kills at least 20 people and injures more than 212 others.
October 19, 2012: A senior Lebanese official who was actively involved in the investigation into the assassination of Rafik Hariri was killed in a bomb blast.
January 25, 2008: A car bomb explodes in Lebanon’s Christian neighborhood, killing an intelligence officer who worked with police to investigate the assassination of Rafik Hariri.
June 13, 2007: A Lebanese member of parliament, along with five others, is killed in a bomb blast at a club on the beach in Beirut.