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UPDATE 2 - Lebanese gov't 'resigns' over Beirut blast outcry

UPDATE 2 - Lebanese gov't 'resigns' over Beirut blast outcry
Death toll rises to 163; protesters angry with response to disaster clash with police, storm officials buildings


By Zehra Nur Duz, Ali Abo Rezeg and Safiye Karabacak

ANKARA / BEIRUT (AA) - All Lebanese Cabinet members have submitted resignations to Prime Minister Hassan Diab, the country's health minister said Monday, amid public outrage over last week's devastating explosion in the capital Beirut.

Hamad Hassan said he handed the resignations to the premier, who is set to meet President Michel Aoun, after a cabinet meeting called to discuss the crisis.

Earlier in the day, Justice Minister Marie-Claude Najm and Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni stepped down. Information Minister Manal Abdel-Samad and Environment Minister Damianos Kattar quit on Sunday.

Six lawmakers have also resigned from the 128-member parliament in protest over the devastating explosion that killed at least 163 people, and injured 6,000 others. Approximately 300,000 people have been left homeless.

Communications minister Talal Hawat, and Ghada Chreim, minister of displaced, said in the meeting that the government's resignation has become “inevitable."

Two massive explosions rocked the Port of Beirut Port last Tuesday after a neglected stockpile of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse ignited.

Ammonium nitrate is a chemical substance often used to make bombs and commonly used in fertilizer. Terrorism has been ruled out as a probable cause of the blasts.

The blasts, which rocked Beirut to its core, shattering buildings miles in the distance, came at a time when Lebanon was already dealing with a severe financial crisis, and the coronavirus pandemic.

Protesters have taken to the streets with violent anti-government demonstrations for the past two days, storming official buildings and clashing with police.

*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

source: News Feed
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