Lebanese government resigns following deadly blast

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Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab speaks at the government palace in Beirut, Lebanon, August 10, 2020, in this still picture taken from a video. /Tele Liban via REUTERS

Lebanon’s entire government stepped down on Monday following the massive explosion in Beirut that killed more than 160 people and sparked days of violent protests.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab made the announcement on Monday evening, just two days after he made a televised speech in which he offered to stay on for two months to allow for various factions to agree on a roadmap for reforms.

“Today we follow the will of the people in their demand to hold accountable those responsible for the disaster that has been in hiding for seven years, and their desire for real change,” Reuters quotes Diab. “In the face of this reality … I am announcing today the resignation of this government.”

The deadly blast sparked accusations alleging government culpability through alleged negligence and corruption.

The massive blast rocked the Port of Beirut at around 6 p.m. local time (1610 GMT) on 4 August, shaking buildings all over the city and causing massive casualties and damages.

The explosion killed at least 158 people and injured more than 6,000 others.

The cause of the blast is being investigated but Diab said the cause of the massive explosion was 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse for six years. President Michel Aoun tweeted it was “unacceptable” the explosives had been stored unsafely.

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