News   /   Lebanon   /   Editor's Choice

Anti-Hezbollah accusations over Beirut port blast politically-motivated: Official

The photo, taken on August 4, 2021, shows a view of the damaged grain silos at the port of Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, on the first anniversary of the blast that ravaged the port and the city. (By AFP)

A senior Hezbollah official has strongly dismissed accusations against the Lebanese resistance movement over last year’s Beirut port explosion that killed more than 200 people, stating that such claims are politically-motivated and meant to tarnish the image of his group.

“One should refer to the reports that American, French, German and Lebanese investigators have drawn up. All of them state that Hezbollah had nothing to do with the blast,” Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem said in an exclusive interview with Arabic-language al-Khanadeq news website on Wednesday.

“They want to hold the movement responsible for whatever goes wrong in the country as they [furiously] try to undermine the party and sully its image. Ever since the explosion struck, they have been claiming that Hezbollah was behind it. Intelligence services and experts from all over the world have come [to Lebanon], and proven to anyone that Hezbollah had no role whatsoever in the incident.”

He continued, “They have now started playing a new blame game: Who brought ammonium nitrate to Beirut port? You well know who did it. Where was the cache of unexploded ammonium nitrate taken to? You know much better than anyone else. The judge must be aware of the facts and present them. By not stating the facts, they are taking advantage of any possible opportunity to hold Hezbollah responsible. They will clearly fail to tie Hezbollah to the explosion. Such accusations are politically-motivated.”

Sheikh Qassem noted that Hezbollah considers it as unnecessary to file slander lawsuits against any party who allegedly claims the resistance movement was responsible for the port blast.

The August 2020 explosion killed more than 200 people, wounded thousands and flattened several neighborhoods in the Lebanese capital. 

It was caused by the ignition of tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate, stored in a port warehouse filled with other hazardous material since 2014.

Rights groups and families of victims accuse officials of obstructing the probe into the explosion, which has so far failed to hold high-level officials to account or reveal the exact causes of the disaster.

Officials have so far rejected lead investigator Judge Tarek Bitar’s requests to lift the immunity of several high-ranking lawmakers and security chiefs so they can be questioned on the suspicion of criminal negligence, as well as homicide with probable intent.

The officials include caretaker Prime Minister Hasan Diab, ex-Public Works and Transport Ministers Yousef Finianos and Ghazi Zeiter, ex-Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk, as well as General Security chief Major-General Abbas Ibrahim.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku