This footage suggests that negligence alone might not have caused the ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse in Beirut’s harbour to have exploded. Like many Lebanese, the couple was filming the fire from their balcony. The woman heard what sounded like the approach of a plane and shouted a panicked warning just before the first detonation is heard. There is certainly a sound, clearly recorded in the video, to suggest it came from an external source. At that point, the fire was seen to suddenly flare-up, followed almost immediately by the first explosion. Moments later the second massive blast rocked the city and threw them off their feet. According to the above tweet the couple died in the conflagration that followed, however, subsequent reports say they were injured.
As the story of the bombing continues, more information has been forthcoming but it is still difficult to separate fact from speculation. There was definitely no sign of an aircraft in the moments before the first explosion, and the sound heard on the video may have been generated by the growing force of the fire.
The port was known to be under Hezbollah’s control and they must certainly have been fully aware of the unstable storage of the ammonium nitrate. There has been conjecture from some quarters that it was to be used by Hezbollah with the intention of launching an attack against Israel. If the explosion at the warehouse could indeed be laid at the feet of Hezbollah, or any other organisation for that matter, it could be construed as an act of war against the Lebanese people…
President Trump had his own suspicions regarding the explosion:
“We have a very good relationship with the people of Lebanon and we will be there to help. It looks like a terrible attack,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
“I’ve met with some of our great generals and they just seem to feel that this was not some kind of manufacturing explosion type of an event … They seem to think it was an attack. It was a bomb of some kind.”
The US president, however, did not present any evidence to back his claim.
In this rather horrible year, we have witnessed events that throw 2020 into stark focus and suggest that 2021 maybe worse!
Despite the seeming inevitability of war in the Middle East, inscribed in daily events, cross-border skirmishes with Israel and surrounding nations, Israel was among the first to offer help to Lebanon. And, in a gesture of solidarity with her shattered neighbour, Tel Aviv lit up with the Lebanese flag.
My heart goes out to Lebanon. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who suffered loss of family or friends, to those who were made homeless, to those who have lost businesses or their source of income, and to all who have been emotionally devastated by the events of August 4th, 2020. May God be with you as you deal with this massive personal blow, and work once again towards the healing and restoration of your country.