Lebanon's top Sunni cleric urges international investigation into blast

Reuters , Wednesday 19 Aug 2020

Lebanon
A picture taken on August 19 shows a partial view of the devastated port of Beirut and nearby buildings at sunset, almost two weeks after a massive explosion shook the Lebanese capital, killing at least 170 people and injuring scores of others. AFP

Lebanon's leading Sunni cleric on Wednesday joined calls for early parliamentary elections and an international investigation into the explosion at the Beirut port, which he said deepened the country's existential crisis.

At least 179 people were killed and 300,000 left effectively homeless when massive amounts of highly explosive material stored unsafely for years detonated early this month, destroying swathes of the city and prompting the government's resignation amid mass protests.

"The existential threat to Lebanon requires urgent attention: an international investigation to delineate responsibilities and restore confidence," said Lebanon's Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian.

The president must adhere to the will of the people and conduct parliamentary consultations to name a new prime minister, he added.

On Sunday, Lebanon's top Christian cleric called for early parliamentary elections, saying Lebanon was today facing "its biggest danger".

Leading politicians who were not part of the now caretaker government, which had support from Iran-backed Hezbollah and its allies, have called for an international investigation.

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