Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab called the explosion a “national catastrophe.” He said it was triggered by 2,700 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate, inexplicably left unattended in a warehouse for six years. The explosion completely destroyed the Port of Beirut — a main economic lifeline to Lebanon. Even before Tuesday’s disaster, Lebanon’s economy was in crisis, exacerbated by U.S. sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.
At the White House, President Trump told reporters that U.S. military generals believed the explosion was caused by a bomb.
President Donald Trump: “They would know better than I would, but they seem to think it was an attack. It was a bomb of some kind. Yes.”
Trump offered no evidence for his claim, which was not supported by intelligence agencies. The Pentagon declined to comment and referred all press questions to the White House.
After the explosion, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called former Prime Minister Saad Hariri to offer assistance to the Lebanese people, not the current prime minister, Hassan Diab.