Judge probing Beirut blast receives FBI’s investigation

BEIRUT (AP) — The judge investigating a massive blast in Beirut that killed and wounded many people two months ago has received a report from the FBI about their own probe of the blast, state-run National News Agency reported Tuesday.

The news agency said Judge Fadi Sawwan received the FBI report on Monday, adding that he is still waiting for similar reports from French and British explosives experts. It gave no details about the content of the report.

The Aug. 4 blast at Beirut’s port killed nearly 200 people, injured about 6,500 and caused damage worth billions of dollars. Nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive chemical used in fertilizers, exploded at Beirut’s port. The material had been stored at the facility for six years.

It is still not known what ignited the nitrate but more than two dozen people, many of them port and customs officials have been detained since. Sawwan, the judge in charge of the investigation, has questioned top security officials, former Cabinet ministers and port employees.

NNA said the reports by foreign investigation teams will specify the cause behind the explosion of the nitrates and the nature of the explosion and whether there was an intentional act of sabotage, or whether the blast was the result of a mistake or misestimation about the dangers of the material that exploded.

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