French President visits Beirut to survey damage at blast site

Beirut: The number of deaths in the Beirut blast has reached 157, and the Lebanese health department expressed fears that the number may rise in the next few hours. French President Emmanuel Macron reached Beirut, on Thursday, to assess the situation after the blast that rocked Lebanon. At this time, the angry Lebanese citizens surrounded the French President and demanded a change in government. Meanwhile, the Israeli media have started claiming a Hezbollah connection in the Beirut blast.   

All the warehouses in 300 metres radius from the blast site in Beirut have been destroyed. The Lebanese health ministry has expressed fears that many people may be trapped under this pile of debris. Therefore, these agencies are claiming that once the piles are cleared, more dead bodies may be found. The number of people injured in the blast has crossed 5,000, and the victims are being treated in the car park as the hospitals do not have sufficient beds for these patients. The flow of aid has started from around the world following the blast. Aeroplanes loaded with medical supplies have reached Lebanon from France, Germany, Czech Republic, Qatar and Turkey. At the same time, some countries have declared financial aid along with medical supplies. Reports are also being received that China has offered to redevelop the concerned port. A minimum of 300,000 people have been dis-housed because of the blast, and it is being claimed that the blast has cost anywhere between USD 15 to 20 billion to the Lebanese economy. Against this background, Iran has appealed to the international community to withdraw the sanctions imposed against Lebanon.   

But French President Macron announced that the Beirut victims would receive assistance without withdrawing sanctions against the corrupt Lebanese leaders and without allowing any money to go in their hands. French President Macron reached Beirut on Thursday. At this time, the local population surrounded the French President and appealed to him to bring about a revolution in the country. Slogans that the Lebanese people want to overthrow the government also were given at that time. Lebanese population is holding the government responsible for the insecurity and instability in the country.  

All the officials from the Beirut port connected to the blast have been placed under detention. The Lebanese government announced that action would be taken against them for unsecured storage of Ammonium Nitrate. The port officials informed that the matter was being followed up with the Lebanese government since the last year and it was the government agencies who did not give any reply regarding disposal of the Ammonium Nitrate stock.   

Meanwhile, the Israeli newspapers are claiming that the links of the blast are reaching Hezbollah. These newspapers have claimed that the stock of 2,750 of Ammonium Nitrate, the cause of the Beirut blast, and Hezbollah are all connected to a terrorist group in Europe. Hezbollah had hidden three tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate in one of the warehouses in London in 2015. Hezbollah had planned a major attack in London. But MI-5, acting swiftly, had seized the stock and arrested the Hezbollah terrorists.  

Whereas, the stock of hundreds of tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate was seized even from Germany in April. The German agencies had acted on the intel shared by the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. These newspapers are reminding everyone of these two incidents. Therefore, these newspapers are alleging that the stock belonged to Hezbollah. The Israeli press also pointed out that a few months ago, Hezbollah had threatened to blow up the tanks in the city of Haifa which is used for storing Ammonium Nitrate. 

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