Authorities knew ammonium nitrate stored at Beirut port was dangerous: Customs head

Authorities knew ammonium nitrate stored at Beirut port was dangerous: Customs head

The Lebanese judiciary was notified six times that the ammonium nitrate stored at Beirut Port was dangerous and customs officials asked to re-export it, Director General of Lebanese Customs Badri Daher said, local Lebanese outlet LBCI reported Wednesday. Permission was never granted.

Daher told LBCI that it appears fireworks were stored near ammonium nitrate and that Beirut port authorities are responsible for the storage.

Blasts at the port shook Beirut Tuesday night, and so far 100 have been reported and thousands injured. Property was damaged throughout Beirut.

The cause is still unknown, but officials said that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, used in fertilizers and bombs, had been stored at the port since 2014. An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the explosions.

Ammonium nitrate, is an odorless crystalline substance commonly used as a fertilizer that has been the cause of numerous industrial explosions over the decades, AFP reported Wednesday.

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