Social Question

filmfann's avatar

Was the explosion in Beirut an attack?

Asked by filmfann (49151points) August 4th, 2020


During a press conference, Trump said his wonderful generals told him this was an attack, not an accident.
An attack by who?
Was it a bomb?

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25 Answers

chyna's avatar

Beirut officials are saying no, it is a horrible tragedy. We probably won’t know for a few days. Thousands hurt, at least 73 dead so far. On top of that, all the people in the hospitals with Covid. So sad.

Brian1946's avatar

According to what I heard on ABC news, the explosion was located near a fireworks warehouse.

SergeantQueen's avatar

@Brian1946 I will find a link, but the one video I saw definitely had what appeared to be fireworks.

johnpowell's avatar

If you watch there is a fire that goes for a while and you can see what looks like fireworks going off in the fire. And then the big ass stockpile of fertilizer goes off. Seems like a weird way to set off a bomb.

And the fertilizer has been there for six years. My hunch is just plain old incompetence. Texas has this shit happen all the time.

And yeah.. Trump lying about everything all the time doesn’t help here.

gorillapaws's avatar

You have at least 2 logical possibilities:

1. There was an attack that happened to cause nearby fireworks and fertilizer to go off.
2. There was an accident involving fireworks and/or fertilizer that was so severe it appears to be an attack.

I don’t think any of us are in a position to claim which scenario occurred with any degree of certainty.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
SEKA's avatar

By tomorrow, trump will be saying he was the mastermind behind the attack. Today, they aren’t admitting to an attack. First they said there was fireworks stored in the warehouse. Later they said there was explosives stored in the warehouse. Guess we won’t know for another day or two. I’ve heard nothing of any group laying claim to attacking them except from trump and I don’t consider him a reliable source

Tropical_Willie's avatar

CNN’s Ben Wedeman reported that authorities think a large amount of ammonium nitrate seized from a ship in 2013 or 2014 may have caused the blast. Large amount like thousand of tons.

Initial fire may have been fireworks warehouse

elbanditoroso's avatar

It could also have been a Hezbollah storehouse (they are known to set off terroristic explosions and kill people) that was discovered by some country that doesn’t care for Iran (meaning it could be any country in the Middle East).

But my guess is that they offloaded it from some ship and forgot about it. Someone thought they stubbed out their cigarette… but they hadn’t.

My two cents: this was the last thing in the world Lebanon needed.

kritiper's avatar

I heard that they thought it was a huge amount of explosives that were seized in some action. But ammonium nitrate, which is common fertilizer, when mixed with diesel fuel or some other oil, creates an explosive.

ragingloli's avatar

Who knows?
But it is clear that it would be really easy to mask an attack by staging it in a warehouse full of explosive materials.
Since drumpf claimed it was an attack, perhaps the CIA is responsible.

LuckyGuy's avatar

They are saying it was 2700 tons of ammonium nitrate that was seized and stored for about 6 years.
Ammonium nitrate has an explosive yield of 56% of TNT so that blast was close to a 1.5 kT nuclear weapon. The damage assessment and residue will more precisely identify the explosive components.
It is very unlikely this was an attack. Anyone saying so is just pulling that info out of an orifice.

Or maybe…. the US dropped and B61 tactical nuke to stir things up and take people’s minds off the upcoming election.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Here’s a study map of damage assessments for different size nuclear weapon blasts. You can place it over the damage in Beirut to determine the size. 1.5 kT?

elbanditoroso's avatar

@LuckyGuy more likely an Iranian nuke sitting in storage for Hesbollah to use.

LadyMarissa's avatar

According to this morning’s news, it was over 54K tons of ammonium nitrate that had been stored in the warehouse for over 7 years. Supposedly it came off a Russian ship back in 2013 & nobody seemed overly interested in disposing of it.Of course, fingers are being pointed in 1,000 different directions now that over 100 are dead & over 4,000 in the hospital. Also over ¼ million people lost their homes from the explosion. IF it was an attack, they still aren’t admitting to it!!!

I’d think that maybe Russia had planned this back in 2013 except trump wouldn’t be saying it was an attack IF his buddy Putin had planned it!!!

Demosthenes's avatar

It seems that a fire broke out at the warehouse (possibly from welding repairs), which then detonated a stockpile of ammonium nitrate. I’m sure the conspiracy theories will be unceasing, but that’s the narrative I’m going with until more evidence of terrorism arises.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Here is an except from the article; detailing the source and history of the ammonium nitrate.

“The thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate that Lebanese officials are blaming for the huge explosion arrived in the city aboard an ailing, Russian-owned cargo ship that made an unscheduled stop in the city more than six years ago.

Lebanese customs officials wrote letters to the courts at least six times from 2014 to 2017, seeking guidance on how to dispose of the highly combustible material, according to public records cited by a Lebanese lawmaker, Salim Aoun.

Solutions proposed by the officials included exporting the ammonium nitrate, which is used in fertilizer and explosives, or donating it to the Lebanese Army. But the judiciary failed to respond to the letters, the records suggested.

The general manager of Beirut port, Hassan Koraytem, appeared to confirm that account on Wednesday in an interview with OTV, a local broadcaster. Despite numerous requests to have the material moved, “nothing happened,” Mr. Koraytem said.

“We have been waiting for this to be resolved for six years, in vain,” he said.

Anger swelled in Lebanon, as people demanded to know who was to blame for the dangerous cache being allowed to sit at the port for years, and why it was not kept in safer conditions.

“As head of the government, I will not relax until we find the responsible party for what happened, hold it accountable and apply the most serious punishments against it,” Prime Minister Hassan Diab said.

The Russian-owned, Moldovan-registered ship, the Rhosus, arrived in Beirut in November 2013, just under two months after it had left Georgia en route for the port of Beira in Mozambique. Lebanese port officials discovered “significant faults” on the ship and prevented it from continuing its journey, according to an account by lawyers for the ship’s crew published in 2015.

The ship’s Russian captain gave an interview on Wednesday with Radio Free Europe, challenging parts of the account provided by Lebanese officials, saying there was nothing wrong with the ship and that it was held for failure to pay port dues.

The vessel’s owner was identified as Igor Grechushkin, a Russian businessman living in Cyprus, but he appeared to abandon the ship soon after it ran into trouble, prompting a lengthy legal and diplomatic dispute.

The ship’s captain and several crew members were at first forced by the Lebanese authorities to remain on board. They told the authorities that they worried about the danger to their safety from the ship’s cargo, 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate.

They were allowed to leave in 2015. That left Lebanese officials in charge of the deadly cargo, which by then had been moved into storage on a wharf at the Beirut port.”

LadyMarissa's avatar

From everything I’ve read, pretty much everybody is claiming that it wasn’t their job to get rid of it.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@LadyMarissa You can see the logic. Even the Russian ship owner said it wasn’t his job by abandoning it and declaring bankruptcy. Such a waste.
That material could have been used to fertilize the crops on ~50000 acres of farm land ~ 100 square miles, 10 miles x 10 miles..
It would have increased crop yields. Instead it wiped out all the grain in the silos .

Those poor people….

LadyMarissa's avatar

@LuckyGuy I agree, but the Port Authority said that they didn’t have permission so they asked the judicial system to guide them on what to do. The judicial system decided that it wasn’t their job, so they ignored the requests from the Port Authority. The Port Authority even asked permission to give it to the Lebanese military & were still ignored. Now the head of the Port Authority is facing being prosecuted for not doing anything. I’m NOT taking sides as I wasn’t there & don’t know what happened…I’ve only read what is being reported!!!

LuckyGuy's avatar

@LadyMarissa Yes. We are reading basically the same story.
I was trying to give perspective to folks who don’t know that AN is commonly used in farming.
Back in the day, we used one pound per apple tree. A 50 pound bag cost $7.00.

LuckyGuy's avatar

That was 30 years ago. Now it seems incredible that I could just go into the local Agway farm store and buy 100 pounds of ammonium nitrate for about $35 in today’s dollars. I didn’t even have to sign for it.

Those days are gone!

LuckyGuy's avatar

Here is an interesting article fromt eh NYTimes. They used imaging data to go back in time and find the ship that was abandoned. It is under the water about 1500 ft north of the from the blast site. You can see a hint of it on google earth.

LadyMarissa's avatar

The PM & government under him resigned this morning saying they are joining the people.

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