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Discussion in 'Personal' started by lapinrose, Aug 4, 2020.

  1. lapinrose

    lapinrose Star commenter

    A beautiful place, so peaceful and friendly after the civil war. Now a huge bomb, seems to be in connection with the Hariri trial.

    From the BBC.

    A large blast has hit the Lebanese capital, Beirut, ahead of the verdict in a trial over the killing of ex-PM Rafik Hariri in 2005.

    Reports say the explosion was in the port area of the city, with unconfirmed reports of a second blast. It is not clear what caused them.

    Video posted online showed a large mushroom cloud and extensive damage.

    A UN tribunal is due to issue its verdict in the trial of four suspects in the murder by car bomb of Hariri.

    All four are members of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group, which has consistently denied any role in Hariri's death. They are being tried in absentia and the verdict is due on Friday.

    The possible second explosion was reported to be at the Hariri residence in the city.

    Lebanon's health minister, Hamad Hasan, has spoken of many injuries and extensive damage.

    Local media showed people trapped beneath rubble. A witness described the first explosion as deafening.

    The latest reports come amid political tension in Lebanon, with street demonstrations against the government's handling the worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.

    What's the Hariri case about?
    On the morning of 14 February 2005, Rafik Hariri - then an MP who aligned himself with the opposition in parliament - was travelling in a motorcade when the explosion went off in a busy area full of hotels and banks, causing widespread damage.

    Mr Hariri had been one of Lebanon's most prominent Sunni politicians and, at the time of his death, had joined calls for Syria to withdraw troops which had been in Lebanon since 1976 following the start of the civil war.

    The killing brought tens of thousands of demonstrators on to the streets in protest against the pro-Syrian government, with the finger of blame for the assassination pointed at Lebanon's heavily influential neighbour.

    Within two weeks the government resigned and weeks after that, Syria withdrew its forces.

    After collecting evidence, the UN and Lebanon set up the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) in The Hague in 2007 to investigate the bombing, and ultimately charged the four suspects with terrorism, murder and attempted murder.

    A fifth man linked to the attack, Hezbollah military commander Mustafa Amine Badreddine, was killed in Syria in 2016.

    Hezbollah's supporters have dismissed the trial, suggesting that the STL process is not politically neutral.
    sbkrobson likes this.
  2. Corvuscorax20

    Corvuscorax20 Senior commenter

  3. red_observer

    red_observer Star commenter

  4. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Hell of an explosion.
  5. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    The footage shown on the news is just terrifying. As if poor Lebanon had not suffered enough.
  6. red_observer

    red_observer Star commenter

    It looked like a small Hiroshima to me...
    EmanuelShadrack and hplovegame48 like this.
  7. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Not a bomb.

    Lebanon's interior minister says ammonium nitrate likely caused explosion.

    Mohamed Fehmi has just told the MTV Lebanon channel the explosion appeared to have been caused by “huge quantities of ammonium nitrate” being stored at the port.

    This backs up what the custom’s director-general was quoted as saying to another Lebanese news channel, Al Mayadeen.

  8. red_observer

    red_observer Star commenter

    Still it’s a massive explosion. Good gosh.
  9. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    It appears from the video that there was a fire originally. If ammonium nitrate comes into contact with an open flame or other ignition source, it explodes violently. The explosive force occurs when solid ammonium nitrate decomposes very rapidly into two gases; nitrous oxide and water vapour.

    In 1947 a fire on board the cargo ship SS Grandcamp docked at Texas City detonated 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate which was its cargo. The explosion blew two planes out of the sky and knocked people to the ground in Galveston, over ten miles away.

    It also triggered a chain reaction that detonated explosions in nearby oil refineries as well as in another cargo ship carrying another 1,000 tons of ammonium nitrate.

    The disaster killed some 600 people and injured another 3,500, and is generally considered the worst industrial accident in U.S. history.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2020
  10. red_observer

    red_observer Star commenter

    agathamorse and nomad like this.
  11. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    So probably a terrible accident and not a terrorist attack. It doesn't make it any better, but at least there hopefully shouldn't be further repercussions.
  12. Sally006

    Sally006 Lead commenter

    Truly horrific. Stunned by the footage. Those poor people.
  13. WB

    WB Star commenter

    Didn't the IRA make bombs out on ammonium nitrate? It's fertiliser isn't it?
  14. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    The poor residents of Beirut. As if 2020 hadn't been bad enough already. My heart bleeds for them.
    jellycowfish and frangipani123 like this.
  15. George_Randle

    George_Randle Established commenter


    There was a similar catastrophe in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1917 after a collision involving a French ship laden with explosives containing benzol. The resulting explosion was the worst in history before the detonating of the atomic bombs.

  16. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    Yes it can be used as a fertiliser but also as an explosive.
    agathamorse likes this.
  17. elder_cat

    elder_cat Lead commenter

    It was used in the form of ANFO, where it was combined with fuel oil. Abandoned in favour of compounds such as Semtex. Equally devastating, but could be used in smaller amounts, making IEDs easier to conceal.
  18. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Yes. Used in the attack by Timothy McVeigh, the American domestic terrorist who carried out the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others, and destroyed one third of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
    agathamorse likes this.
  19. EmanuelShadrack

    EmanuelShadrack Star commenter

    Very interesting, thank you.

    I see red has mentioned Hiroshima. I was reminded of that too. In fact the Wikipedia article mentions Hiroshima in relation to the Halifax explosion:

    For many years afterward, the Halifax Explosion was the standard by which all large blasts were measured. For instance, in its report on the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Time wrote that the explosive power of the Little Boy bomb was seven times that of the Halifax Explosion.
    George_Randle likes this.
  20. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    Ammonium nitrate and diesel oil is fairly standard for use in quarries when breaking up a rock face.

    If it was a tragic accident then it is very sad but suggests someone wasn't thinking health and safety.

    Death toll up to 70 at the moment with thousands injured is what is currently being reported, as has been said, hasn't Beirut seen enough death and destruction. Here's hoping it doesn't get worse than that.

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