The Beirut Explosions: All Fingers Point to Hezbollah
It has been nearly two weeks since the explosions occurred at the port of the city of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon—the second explosion was extremely powerful, and caused at least 171 deaths, 6,000 injuries, $10-15 billion in property damage and left an estimated 300,000 people homeless.
Since then, after the resignation of the Lebanese government, Lebanon’s Parliament approved a state of emergency, giving the military sweeping powers amidst rising popular anger at official corruption and mismanagement and political uncertainty.
The disaster has led to protests unto a new level as the country reels from an unprecedented economic and financial crisis, along with the COVID-19 pandemic. The questions that have yet to have been answered are were the explosions accidental, as the government claims—this is refuted by many including Israeli Middle East expert Dr. Mordechai Kedar (see below)—or were they maliciously set off? If the latter, then by whom?
According to D.W. Sanders, is a chemical facility vulnerability inspector for the Department of Homeland Security, all fingers point to Hezbollah—a Shi‘ite Islamist political party and militant group whose paramilitary wing, the Jihad Council, is backed up by Iran.
On August 3, the day of the explosions, the United Nations Security Council issued a directive to the Lebanese government to either rein in Hezbollah or face further sanctions. Hezbollah has a large footprint in the port of Beirut as referenced not only in UN documents but in Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the UN in 2018.
Tuesday August 4, the Port of Beirut goes up in a massive series of small to horrendous explosions.
As detailed by Sanders, ammonium nitrate is a Class 4 chemical, which means it is almost harmless in storage bag form, or as in this case, fertilizer form.
It takes four components to make ammonium nitrate explode:
- ammonium nitrate, which acts as an oxidizer to a fuel;
- any fuel can react with ammonium nitrate from grease to gas and anything in between;
- a chamber, drum or something where the fuel and oxidizer can react to form a vapor or cloud;
- the ignition which creates the “big bang” and subsequent damage.
In this case, the warehouse, Hangar 2, was known as a bomb-making facility for Hezbollah. Sanders explains that benzene was likely the fuel, metal and/or plastic canisters were used as the “drum,” ammonium nitrate was the oxidizer and thus became the heavy explosive. The ignition was likely set up to be remotely detonated by cell phone or battery timer.
For nearly forty years, Hezbollah has used ammonium nitrate bombs as their weapon of choice:
- October 1983, Hezbollah blew up U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut using ammonium nitrate;
- In 2009, Ali Kourani, a U.S. Lebanese national and member of Hezbollah, was traced to China where he was seeking the purchase of large amounts of ammonium nitrate;
- In January 2012, a Swedish-Lebanese member of Hezbollah was arrested with 4.5 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in his house in Thailand;
- In 2015, a Canadian-Lebanese Hezbollah member was found on the island of Cyprus with 8 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in his home;
- In 2017, a Hezbollah operative was arrested and charged in Panama with plotting to blow up the Panama Canal with ammonium nitrate;
- In 2018 in London, a cache of 3 tons of ammonium nitrate was found belonging to Hezbollah;
- In May 2020, the German government was tipped off about two warehouses where Hezbollah stashed hundreds of kilograms of ammonium nitrate.
Others, such as Yochanan Visser of Israel Today, sustain Sanders’ analysis. As Visser recently reported, there was a resident of Beirut who reported on his Twitter account, under the name Zalahmahsa, that weapons, explosives and rockets were unloaded from an unknown ship the day before the blasts rocked Beirut—incidentally, Zalahmahsa has since then had his account consequently suspended and the message is no longer available.
Dr. Kedar pointed to the fact that there were not two sets of explosions but three, with the last blast the most powerful one that destroyed half of Beirut’s buildings and killed more than 150 people in the Lebanese capital.
“Anyone who ships sensitive cargo and does not want it to be seen, photographed, or targeted by others from air, space, or ground tries to hide it as close as possible to the water. The warehouse that exploded was on the water’s edge,” according to Kedar.
According to retired American weapons expert who wished to remain anonymous, the second explosion which created a purple red smoke cloud was the result of exploding nitrogen triiodide an inorganic compound used for the production of missiles and explosives. He told Israel Today that the explosions were the result of the mixing of chemicals used to make bombs and explosives as well as rocket fuel.
Hezbollah, as expected, denies it knew anything about what was going on in the port of Beirut, notwithstanding the fact that Israel’s UN ambassador Danny Danon last year informed the UN Security Council about the terrorist organization’s exclusive control over the port.
This weekend a team of FBI investigators arrived in Lebanon to take part in the probe of Beirut’s massive explosions. Time will hopefully reveal the truth to all this. However, given Hezbollah’s past, including its use of ammonium nitrate as already mentioned, it would be difficult to disprove it had a hand in the Beirut explosions.
Le us pray for the sake of the Lebanese, who have been crippled by corruption and sanctions, that concrete answers will be provided as soon as possible. Perhaps then, corrupt individuals will be weeded out, thereby giving the people of Lebanon a chance to rebuild their lives and their beloved country.
Mario Alexis Portella is a priest of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Florence, Italy. He has a doctorate in canon law and civil law from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome; he also holds a M. A. in Medieval History from Fordham University, as well as a B.A. in Government & Politics from St. John’s University. He is also author of Islam: Religion of Peace? – The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up.
Any sources not cited may be found in my book Islam: Religion of Peace? – The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up. Book available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or WestBow Press.
N.B. The reader is alerted that D.W. Sanders’ report was published by the Clarion Project on August 12, 2020.