Officials disagree with Trump over explosion in Lebanon

Washington – Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Wednesday that most people believe that the explosion in Lebanon on Tuesday that killed at least 100 people was an accident, contradicting President Donald Trump, who commented that US generals mentioned that it was probably caused by a bomb.

Esper said the United States was still collecting information on the explosion, but said it was most likely “an accident, as reported.”

On Tuesday, Trump said: “It looks like a terrible attack.”

The president was questioned as to why he called it an attack and not an accident, especially since the Lebanese authorities had not yet determined the cause of the explosion. He commented to reporters at the White House that: “It would seem that based on the explosion. I met with some of our best generals and they seem to feel that it was an attack. This was not a type of factory explosion event. They seem to think it was an attack. It was a bomb of some kind. “

From the beginning, US officials have said they don’t know what caused the initial fire and the explosions that led to a larger detonation. But they noted that they do believe reports from Lebanon that claim that what exploded was a large amount of ammonium nitrate that was stored after it was confiscated.

Based on videos and other types of evidence, experts mentioned that fireworks and ammonium nitrate were the fuel that caused the explosion that shook the Lebanese capital. The magnitude of the damage, from the area of ​​the explosion in the Beirut port to windows shattered miles away, resembled that caused by other explosions related to the chemical compound that is often used as agricultural fertilizer.

The compound generally does not explode on its own and requires another ignition source. That likely came from a fire that hit what appeared to be fireworks stored in the port. The Lebanese government said it was going to put an unspecified number of Beirut port officials under house arrest with a pending investigation into how 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate were stored in the port for years.

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