According to the Lebanese government, the explosion in its capital city on Tuesday that left over 100 dead and many more injured or homeless was caused by the accidental detonation of some 2,750 of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer often used for making bombs. (Less than one-thousandth of that amount was used by Timothy McVeigh to destroy the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995.) Previously, police have discovered Hizballah warehouses in London and Germany storing many tons of the same explosive. Hussein Ibish comments:
The ammonium nitrate was apparently seized in 2013 from a Moldovan-flagged ship traveling from Georgia to Mozambique. But someone—who, we don’t yet know—brought it into Beirut; instead of returning, auctioning or disposing of it, the port management inexcusably allowed it to be stored there for years.
There are no prizes for guessing who in Lebanon might be interested in keeping such vast quantities of explosive material close at hand. The U.S. Treasury and Israel both believe Hizballah controls many of Beirut’s port facilities. [Prime Minister Hassan] Diab, whose government is entirely dependent on political support from Hizballah and its Maronite Christian allies, has vowed to hold those responsible to account. More than likely, some minor officials will be fingered for permitting improper storage of highly dangerous material.
Iran-backed Hizballah, with its large and well-armed militia as well as its political hold on the prime minister, has nothing to fear from the state. But it will not escape public opprobrium: most Lebanese will assume the ammonium nitrate belonged to the militia, for use in Syria and against Israel.
Read more on Bloomberg: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-08-05/beirut-explosion-hezbollah-will-not-escape-blame-for-blast