FBI team arrives in Beirut to support investigation into explosion

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U.S. undersecretary of state David Hale tours the source of the explosion - AP Photo/Bilal Hussein

FBI investigators are due to arrive in Beirut this weekend to assist in an ongoing investigation into a massive explosion that has left thousands injured and 180 dead.

According to David Hale, undersecretary of state, the FBI team is in Beirut “… to make sure that there is a thorough, a transparent and credible investigation. I know that is what everyone is demanding.”

The FBI is assisting in Beirut the request of authorities currently investigating the explosion. While foul play has been ruled out so far, the investigation has pointed to widespread corruption within the Lebanese government following the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab and his cabinet.

Investigators have uncovered the source of the explosion, roughly 3000 pounds of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse at the city port. It has been argued that a fire inside the warehouse led to the explosion, but the source of the fire remains unclear.

Since the explosion, a public-fueled rage has consumed the country, demanding the government authorities be held accountable.

Also, it has been demanded that the investigation not be internal, but should be run by independent investigators.

The FBI’s arrival has been met with criticism, particularly from the domestic terrorist organization Hezbollah, whose leader Hassan Nasrallah has claimed that an international investigation would be biased since Israel would have to be absolved of any wrongdoing.

Furthermore, President Michel Aoun has criticized the investigation, arguing that it would be a “waste of time” and would be politicized.

Pushback from various government elements points to a deeper question, are there details authorities are hiding?

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