Top story: Lethal stash was from impounded ship Hello, Warren Murray delivering the first news of this morning. Lebanese officials have admitted the massive port explosion in Beirut that killed at least 135 people, injured thousands and left many more homeless came from nearly 3,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate kept unsafely in a warehouse since 2014. As recently as six months ago, officials inspecting the consignment warned that if not moved it would “blow up all of Beirut”. The government, facing popular fury, said it was putting an unspecified number of Beirut port officials under house arrest pending an investigation into how the highly explosive materials came to be stored less than 100 metres from residential neighbourhoods. In 2014 a Russian-owned vessel carrying the chemical – a fertiliser that can be used in bombs – was impounded at Beirut’s port, with its load apparently confiscated and taken ashore. Various reports said a fire started at a warehouse in the port before spreading to the ammonium nitrate’s storehouse and igniting the contents. The explosion has left much of East Beirut uninhabitable and 300,000 people are said by the governor to have fled the city. International rescue crews have begun flying in… Read full this story
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