Currents News Staff
Humanitarian organization Amnesty International is demanding an independent investigation into the Beirut blast that devastated the country Aug. 4. It wants to ensure the probe is free from any domestic political bias by calling for a worldwide group of investigators to be assembled.
The explosive, ammonium nitrate, was stored unsafely in a Beirut warehouse and could be the cause for the blast, but the organization believes the world needs to know for certain. It argues that it’s the only way to ensure truth, justice and reparations for the victims.
One might wonder what exactly is ammonium nitrate? Scientifically speaking, it’s the ammonium salt of nitric acid, and it’s highly explosive. The material is used in fertilizer and to produce explosives such as bombs. It can explode by adding energy, such as heat or shock, especially when contaminants are present.
Lebanese officials knew for six years that thousands of tons of the volatile material were stored at the Beirut port but didn’t act to remove it or make it safe.
Records show that Lebanese customs officials wrote letters to the courts at least six times from 2014 – 2017 seeking guidance on how to dispose of the highly combustible material.