Lebanon’s Hezbollah Suing Those Accusing It Of Port Blast


Lebanon’s Hezbollah said Friday it is suing a former Christian lawmaker and a website affiliated with a Christian political party for defamation, after they accused the Shiite militant group of being responsible for the devastating explosion at Beirut’s port this summer.

Hezbollah’s legal representative Ibrahim Mussawi said the accusations, leveled by Fares Souaid and the website of the right-wing Lebanese Forces party, were misleading.

Mussawi, also a Hezbollah lawmaker, told a press conference outside the courts house that blaming the group threatens to disrupt social peace in Lebanon, at a time when the United States is exerting maximum pressure on his party and its allies. Washington considers Hezbollah a terrorist group and has been escalating sanctions against it and its political allies in Lebanon.

The massive Aug. 4 blast was caused by nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrates, a fertilizer that was improperly stored at a port warehouse for six years. The blast killed more than 200 people and wounded over 6,000, and extensively damaged several neighborhoods in Beirut.

Some of Hezbollah’s political opponents and civilians have since blamed the group for storing the explosive chemicals at the port. Hezbollah is the only group that kept its weapons after Lebanon’s civil war ended in 1990 and is believed to have ammunition stored in some parts of the country.

The claim was dismissed by Hezbollah’s leader. No evidence has emerged to link the group to the explosive chemicals.

Read More: AP