Lebanese gov't resigns over deadly Beirut blast

Lebanon’s health minister says the government has resigned over last week’s devastating blast at the Port of Beirut, according to The Associated Press.

The minister, Hamad Hassan, spoke with reporters at the end of a Cabinet meeting on Monday, declaring: "The whole government has resigned.”

Hassan also added that Prime Minister Hassan Diab will head to the presidential palace to "hand over the resignation in the name of all the ministers.”

A Lebanese judge on Monday began questioning the heads of the country’s security agencies over last week’s devastating blast in Beirut as another Cabinet minister resigned in protest.

The Cabinet was scheduled to convene later Monday, amid speculation that the government could resign en masse. Or, if four more ministers resign, the Cabinet would collapse, consigning it to caretaker status until a new one is formed.

The massive blast on Aug. 4 has brought a new wave of public outrage at the government and Lebanon’s long-entrenched ruling class. Protests were planned outside the government headquarters to coincide with the Cabinet meeting after large demonstrations over the weekend that saw clashes with security forces firing tear gas at protesters.

The explosion, centered at Beirut port, is believed to have been caused by a fire that ignited a 2,750-ton stockpile of explosive ammonium nitrate. The material had been stored at the port since 2013 with few safeguards despite numerous warnings of the danger.

The result was a disaster Lebanese blame squarely on their leadership’s corruption and neglect. The blast killed at least 160 people and wounded about 6,000, in addition to destroying the country’s main port and damaging large parts of the capital. 


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