A Horrific Blast in Beirut

Trump has acted irresponsibly, leaping to conclusions and calling it an 'attack.'

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From The American Conservative:

On Tuesday, there was a horrific explosion in the port of Beirut that ripped through the city and killed more than seventy people as well as injuring at least 4,000:

Lebanon’s health ministry said that at least 78 people had died and 4,000 suffered injuries in the explosions and fire that shook Beirut on Tuesday.

The numbers climbed steadily through the day, and with the wounded still streaming into hospitals and the search for missing people underway, they were likely to go higher still.

The blast appears to have been caused when a fire set off a huge store of ammonium nitrate that had been confiscated from a ship and kept at the port for the last six years. Such a huge quantity of explosive material was a disaster waiting to happen, and the citizens of Beirut have suffered a devastating blow as a result. The Lebanese prime minister has vowed that there will be accountability for those responsible for keeping this material there. Initial reports and video show that the city’s port has been wrecked, and it is not known at this time how long it will take to repair and resume operations there.

Lebanon was already suffering from a severe economic and financial crisis exacerbated by U.S. sanctions on Iran and Syria, and the country was also coping with a serious coronavirus outbreak. Lebanon’s hospitals were already under strain because of the pandemic, and now they are being overwhelmed by the huge number of people injured in the blast. The port explosion affected the entire city and was felt as far away as Cyprus. The damage from the blast was massive and far-reaching.

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11 thoughts on “A Horrific Blast in Beirut”

      1. I mean, it’s just odd it went off on its own. Apparently such explosions have happened before, but I can’t help suspecting the involvement of an intentional actor.

          1. Any time there’s a large explosion in the Middle East, it’s reasonable to suspect an attack.

            And if I wanted to attack Beirut in a devastating way and happened to know that there were 2,750 tons of explosive sitting somewhere that could be detonated, that would be an obvious way to do it on the cheap.

            My guess is that at some point we’ll get a plausible explanation of what happened, after which many people will doubt that explanation no matter what it is, mostly depending on their own prior inclinations.

        1. The videos show a previous fire lasting up to 10 minutes next to the warehouse storing the Ammonium Nitrate. Sparks in the base of the fire suggest pyrotechnical material exploding. This was probably the triggering device for the poorly stored and secured Ammonium Nittrate. If there had been any dust build-up over the six years of storage, that would, of course, facilitate the explosion.

      2. Another example is the explosion in the Port of Tianjin in 2015. This time 800 tons of of Ammonium Nitrate. . the death toll was 170 and about 15,000 parked cars burned to a crisp.

    1. Ammonium Nitrate is the main ingredient in ANFO bombs. The ANFO that took down the building and killed 168 people in Oklahoma City in 1995 was with 7,000 lbs of nitrate and diesel fuel. The terrible destruction in Beirut was caused by 2,750 tons of AN4 NO3. The destructive power is exponential. In this case there was no diesel fuel to act as trigger. There is video evidence of a fire with perhaps firecrackers involved (the kind used in pyrotechnical shows). This fire, is what I believe set off the poorly secured Ammonium Nitrate seized from a ship six years prior. It’s early days, but, the evidence points to an avoidable industrial accident.

  1. Aug 4, 2020 Widespread damage after huge explosion in Beirut – BBC News

    It is not yet clear what caused the explosion in the port area of the city. Video posted online showed a large mushroom cloud and destroyed buildings.


    Aug 5, 2020 Aftermath scenes following Beirut port explosion

    The preliminary cause of the blast was 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive chemical material, which reportedly had been stored at a port warehouse without safety measures for years.


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