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Lebanon Asks Russia for Satellite Images Taken on Day of Blasts

  • Sculpture of a hammer at the Beirut Port, Lebanon, Oct. 28, 2021.

    Sculpture of a hammer at the Beirut Port, Lebanon, Oct. 28, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @TRTWorldNow

Published 29 October 2021

The images will provide information that can help the investigation into the Beirut port blasts, President Aoun said.

On Friday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun asked Russia to provide Lebanon with satellite images for the day of Aug. 4, 2020 when two big explosions rocked Beirut's port.


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Aoun's request came during his meeting at Baabda Palace with Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Rudakov to discuss Lebanese-Russian ties and ways to develop them in all fields. Aoun said that his request comes after an announcement by President Vladimir Putin regarding his country's readiness to provide the images to Lebanon.

"This will help secure additional information that can help the investigation into the Beirut port blasts," Aoun said.

Two big explosions rocked the Beirut port on Aug. 4, 2020, killing over 200 people and wounding more than 6,000 others while destroying a big part of the city. Judicial investigation into the blasts has so far failed to identify people who stand behind the entrance of the ammonium nitrate which exploded and caused the devastating damage.

In recent weeks, the Beirut blast investigation has generated a political crisis in the country. Judge Tarek Bitar called several senior officials to testify, some of whom were charged with negligence. In response to this court action, they filed over a dozen lawsuits calling for Bitar's removal. So far, however, several courts have dismissed these lawsuits.

On Friday, the questioning of former minister and legislator Ghazi Zaiter was postponed because this citizen filed a complaint alleging that Bitar does not have jurisdiction over the case since the ministers must be prosecuted by the Supreme Council of Justice.

All of this happens amid other tensions. Two weeks ago, seven people were killed during a protest against Bitar called by the Shiite parties Hezbollah and Amal, which support some politicians involved in the Beirut blast case.

“Hezbollah tied Lebanon’s political stability to the resignation of lead judge in the investigation of the Beirut blast… Deputy leader of the Iran-backed party, Naim Qassem said Bitar ‘has become a real problem in Lebanon’,” outlet Al-Awsat recalled and commented that this dispute “has obstructed the work of the government for ten days now.”

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