Lebanon’s lead investigator in the August 4 Beirut explosion that killed more than 200 people has been informed that French experts have so far reached no conclusion on the cause of the blast, a senior Lebanese judicial source said.
The French judiciary has opened its own investigation into the explosion as French citizens were among those killed and injured.
In the wake of the August 4 explosion that officials have said was fuelled by some 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate left at the port for nearly seven years, French, American and British experts were deployed to help Lebanese investigators.
The United States, via the FBI, has already provided Sawan with its findings, which reached no firm conclusion as to what caused the blast, according to a report by the Reuters news agency.
A French expert report is expected to arrive within the next week or so.
The source said the French judge told Sawan he had not yet officially been handed a report by French technical and security experts, but had reviewed some of the information it is set to contain.
“He stated clearly that the experts have not determined conclusively whether the explosion was the result of an intentional security operation or whether it was the result of negligence in storing the ammonium nitrate and shortcomings that led to the devastating explosion,” the source said.
Caretaker Justice Minister Marie-Claude Najem told Al Jazeera last week that Lebanese investigators were placing significant weight on the French expert report because it was expected to go into greater depth than the FBI’s, and Lebanon had a limited technical capability to reach its own conclusions on the cause of the blast.The devastating explosion injured more than 6,500 people and caused damage estimated at billions of dollars to the capital city, initially leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.