Lebanese authorities deny rumors about Israel’s possible role in Beirut blast
Lebanese Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi dismissed the possibility of Israel’s role in the tragedy, Lebanon 24 television reported. Commenting on journalists’ saying that people had seen Israeli planes shortly before the blast, he said "You know, there is such a thing as fake news".
According to LBCI television, the army command also denied allegations about premeditated detonation, calling them false rumors in a communique and asking to wait for the official results of the probe in the blast.
The interior minister pledged that the probe would be transparent and would take five days.
Shortly after the blast rocked the port area of Beirut, Arab users of social networking systems engaged in active discussion of Israel’s possible involvement in the tragedy, coming up with numerous conspiracy theories.
However, Israeli authorities stated immediately after the blast that Israel had nothing to do with it. The Israeli Foreign Minsitry said on Tuesday that at the direction of Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Benjamin Gantz, Israel had offered humanitarian medical assistance to the government of Lebanon via security and international channels.
Israel’s Kan public radio station said Israel had also expressed readiness to receive people hurt in the blast for medical treatment. "This is the time to transcend conflict," Israel Defense Forces tweeted on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the head of the Jewish state’s National Security Council Meir Ben Shabat to discuss ways of sending aid to Beirut with UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov.
A powerful blast rocked the Beirut seaport area near the Lebanese Navy’s base on August 4, sending a shockwave through residential neighborhoods of the Lebanese capital. The shockwave destroyed and damaged dozens of buildings and cars. Local authorities say the blast was caused by the detonation of 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, stored in the port after being confiscated by the customs services in 2015.
According to latest updates, at least 135 people were killed and over 4,000 were injured. Dozens are still missing. Over 300,000 people were left homeless.