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8 Feb, 2021 13:56

German firm removes decade-old chemicals from Beirut port where catastrophic blast killed 200 people

German firm removes decade-old chemicals from Beirut port where catastrophic blast killed 200 people

A German company has removed dangerous chemicals from Beirut port, the site of a huge nitrate-fueled explosion last August that killed 200 people, injured more than 6,000 and dragged Lebanon further into an economic crisis.

In November, the Lebanese government gave the firm Combi Lift a contract to remove 52 containers of flammable and reactive materials from the port – some of which had been stored there since 2009.

At a meeting on Monday, German ambassador to Lebanon, Andreas Kindle, told the Lebanon's President Michel Aoun that the chemicals are now ready to be shipped out of the country.

The explosion on August 4, 2020 was one of the world's largest ever non-nuclear blasts and left more than 300,000 people homeless, as whole neighborhoods were destroyed.

Also on rt.com Interpol issues red notices for chemical ship captain and owner over Beirut port explosion

Aoun previously said that the blast was caused by 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate – a highly explosive compound commonly used in fertilizer – which had been stored in poor conditions at a warehouse in the port for more than six years. 

However, six months on, an investigation is still ongoing to determine the cause of the explosion and those responsible for it.

Last month Interpol issued international arrest notices for three people, including the captain and owner of the ship that transported the ammonium nitrate to Beirut seven years prior to the explosion.

Current and former Lebanese politicians have been charged over the blast, while there have been at least 25 arrests, including port officials, customs officers and staff from a maintenance company contracted for repairs on the warehouse.

The devastating blast deepened Lebanon's corruption-fueled economic crisis, and the country is now also dealing with food shortages and a strained healthcare system amid the additional pressures of the coronavirus pandemic.

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