Middle East

Death toll rises to 163 while Lebanon gov’t intends to resign

BEIRUT

The death toll from the blast in Beirut has risen to 163 after five more bodies were recovered from the rubble, the Lebanese army said Monday.

“Rescue teams of the Lebanese army in collaboration with the civil defense units, fire fighters, and Russian and French search teams managed to recover five more bodies of victims of the Beirut port explosion,” the military said in a statement.

The statement stated the search for the missing people is ongoing with authorities still trying to ascertain their exact number.

Two explosions rocked the Beirut port on Tuesday after a neglected stockpile of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse caught fire.

Mean while , The resignation of Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s government has become “inevitable”, a Lebanese cabinet source said on Monday.

“The prime minister intends to tender the resignation of his government,” the source told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Lebanese Minister of Communications and Information Technology Talal Hawat and Minister of Displaced Ghada Chreim also said in cabinet meeting that the government’s resignation has become “inevitable.”

Lebanon cabinet intend to resigns amid beruit port blast, photo courtesy Anadolu news

“If the government did not resign, I will,” Hawat said.

On Monday, Justice Minister Marie-Claude Najm resigned, in the third government resignation amid public anger over last week’s explosions at the Beirut port.

On Sunday, Information Minister Manal Abdel-Samad and Environment Minister Damianos Kattar stepped down. Six lawmakers have also resigned from the 128-member parliament in protest over the blasts.

Two explosions rocked the Beirut port last Tuesday after a neglected stockpile of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse there 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 rocked Beirut to its core, registering 3.5 on the Richter scale and shattering buildings miles in the distance. At least 158 people lost their lives, approximately 6,000 were injured and 300,000 have been left homeless.

Lebanon was already in crisis, plagued with severe financial and economic problems and ongoing deep corruption.

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

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