Lebanon refers ammonium nitrate truck drivers to court

Lebanon refers ammonium nitrate truck drivers to court
The remaining arrestees have been released, the Lebanese Army Command have revealed
2 min read
29 September, 2021
Lebanese authorities say they have made 15 arrests in the investigation of this case [Getty-file photo]

Lebanese authorities have referred four men arrested earlier this month for transporting 20 tonnes of ammonium nitrate to court, the Lebanese army has said.

Security forces made six arrests after seizing a truck containing 2o tonnes of the material - used in agriculture as a high nitrogen fertiliser, but can also be used in the manufacture of explosives - at a warehouse in Bednayel, Baalbek district earlier this month.

Those arrested were referred to the Intelligence Directorate which was tasked with completing the investigation, the Lebanese Army said in a statement released on Tuesday.

Nine other people suspected of involvement were arrested. This included "the Lebanese Saad Allah Al-Saleh, owner of the truck ... and the Syrian Khaled Al-Hassan, the arrested Al-Saqer's driver", the army statement read.

Investigations claim that Al-Saleh purchased the ammonium nitrate from Sakr in March 2021 and that two Syrian nationals had transferred the materials, the statement continued.

Sakhr, Al-Saleh, and the Syrian nationals "were referred to the competent judiciary for their involvement in the sale, purchase, storage and transportation of prohibited materials", and the remaining arrestees were released.

Thousands of tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored at the Port of Beirut caused a devastating explosion on 4 August 2020, killing more than 200 in the city and injuring thousands.

New Lebanese Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi, who was with the security forces when the truck was seized, said the ammonium nitrate found would be transferred to safer conditions to avoid an explosion.

Despite government promises of justice, nobody has yet been charged in connection with the Beirut blast.