Possibility of external role: Lebanon prez on blast probe – Times of India

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun said on Friday an investigation into the biggest blast in Beirut’s history would examine whether it was caused by a bomb or other external interference. The search for those missing has intensified, as rescuers sifted rubble in a race to find anyone still alive after Tuesday’s blast that killed 154. “The cause has not been determined yet. There is a possibility of external interference through a rocket or bomb or other act,” Aoun told local media.
Aoun, who had previously said explosive material was stored unsafely for years at the port, said the investigation would also weigh if the blast was due to negligence or an accident. Twenty people had been detained so far, he added. A source has said an initial probe blamed negligence.
While the US has said it did not rule out an attack, Israel, which has fought several wars with Lebanon, has denied any role. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Lebanon’s Shia group Hezbollah, denied claims that the Iran-backed group had arms stored at the port. Meanwhile, police fired teargas at a crowd on Thursday, as anger boiled over at the ruling elite.

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