Lebanon probes blast amid rising anger, calls for change

Associated Press
Two soldiers are shown in the near ground in soft focus with widespread rubble from Beirut's destroyed port in the destance.

Lebanese army soldiers stand guard in front of destroyed ships at the scene where an explosion hit on Tuesday the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon, Aug. 6, 2020. Lebanese army bulldozers plowed through wreckage to reopen roads around Beirut's demolished port on Thursday as the government pledged to investigate the devastating explosion and placed port officials under house arrest.

Hussein Malla/AP

French President Emmanuel Macron, visiting Beirut following a massive explosion in the city's port on Thursday, warned that without serious reforms the country would "continue to sink." Macron's comments come as Lebanese officials sought to shift blame for the presence of explosives at the city's port,

The blast Tuesday, which appeared to have been caused by an accidental fire that ignited a warehouse full of ammonium nitrate at the city's port, rippled across the Lebanese capital, killing at least 135 people, injuring more than 5,000 and causing widespread destruction.

It also may have accelerated the country's coronavirus outbreak, as thousands flooded into hospitals in the wake of the blast. Tens of thousands have been forced to move in with relatives and friends after their homes were damaged, further raising the risks of exposure.