image Photo: Reuters

Hezbollah denies role in Beirut blast

In the wake of the deadly 4 August explosion in Lebanon, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah denied domestic accusations that his heavily armed militia, which is backed by Iran, maintained arms warehouses at the Beirut Port. “I wholeheartedly deny that there is anything that belongs to us in the port. No warehouse for weapons, rockets, no guns, no bombs, no bullets, no nitrate, nothing, absolutely, not now, and not in the past, never,” he insisted during statements from an undisclosed bunker in Lebanon.

Nasrallah added, “With the horror of the incident, there is public, political, parliamentary and Lebanese consensus that there has to be a fair, transparent and true investigation in this incident.”

It is important to mention that Beirut has rejected international offers to investigate the true cause of the deadly explosion. Instead, the Hezbollah-dominated government is adamant on keeping the investigation internal, with limited foreign assistance.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun said he personally asked his visiting-French counterpart Emmanuel Macron to provide satellite images of the explosion to help determine whether “this could be caused by an accident caused by negligence or by external interference through a missile or a bomb,” and that other countries will be asked for such aerial images if Paris is unable.

It is important to note that the investigation has thus far concluded that a fire was first sparked at Port Warehouse 9, before spreading to Warehouse 12 where the horrific blast was ignited due to storage of vast quantities of ammonium nitrate there.

The initial cause of the blaze and contents of Warehouse 9 remain unknown.