Beirut | The leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, Hassan Nasrallah, “categorically denied” on Friday that his organization had an “arms warehouse” in the port of Beirut, rocked by a deadly and destructive explosion.
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“I totally, categorically deny that there is anything to us in the port, neither arms warehouse, nor missile warehouse (…) nor a bomb, nor a bullet, nor nitrate” of ammonium, hammered the head of Hezbollah in a televised address, after accusations in the media or in public opinion pointing the finger at the influential Lebanese Shiite movement.
The explosion in the port of Beirut on Tuesday left more than 150 dead and 5,000 injured. According to the authorities, it was caused by several tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored for six years in a warehouse “without precautionary measures”, according to the Prime Minister’s own admission.
Visiting Beirut on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron called for a “transparent” international investigation.
He met with representatives of the main political forces, including Hezbollah, and called for “changing the system” and stopping “the division of Lebanon”.
Deploring a “human tragedy” after the tragedy of the port, Mr. Nasrallah welcomed the visit of Mr. Macron.
“We look positively at any assistance and expression of sympathy towards Lebanon, and any visit to Lebanon these days, especially if it comes in the context of Lebanon’s aid and the rally,” Nasrallah said. .
A judicial source on Friday reported five new arrests among customs and port officials, including engineers, bringing the total number of people in pre-trial detention to 21.
“If the army has the confidence of all the Lebanese and the political forces and political leaders, go ahead, instruct the Lebanese army to investigate and announce the results, if you say you trust them. it, ”Mr. Nasrallah stressed on Friday.
“If in this case, the Lebanese state and the political class, whether power or the opposition, do not succeed in obtaining results in the investigation and do not manage to bring those responsible to justice” this means that there is no hope of building a state ”in Lebanon.
Heavyweight in Lebanese political life, the only faction not to have abandoned its military arsenal at the end of the civil war (1975-1990), Hezbollah is a great enemy of its neighbor Israel.
The Lebanese Shiite organization, supported by Tehran, intervenes militarily in the conflict in neighboring Syria alongside the regime of Bashar al-Assad. In warring Syria, Hezbollah positions and its weapons convoys have been targeted by Israeli bombardments in recent years.