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Lebanon asks Russia for satellite pictures of Beirut port blast

A view of devastated Beirut port, almost one year after the August 2020 massive explosion Lebanon, 3 August 2021 [Hussam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency]
A view of the devastated Beirut port after the August 2020 explosion in Lebanon, 3 August 2021 [Hussam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency]

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has asked Russian Ambassador Alexander Rudakov for satellite images from 4 August 2020, when a huge explosion rocked Beirut's port, according to a Lebanese presidency tweet today. Reuters reports.

The blast killed more than 215 people, injured thousands and destroyed swathes of the Lebanese capital.

The court case into the blast has been hugely delayed as a result of political pressures and the refusal of officials to be questioned.

Earlier this week, Tarek Bitar, the judge in the probe suspended the questioning of former Prime Minister Hassan Diab a day after the former head of government filed a lawsuit against him.

Bitar was notified officially about the lawsuit, which argues that he does not have the authority to interrogate the former prime minister. That meant that he had to suspend the session automatically. "The suspension of questioning relates only to Diab in this case," a source told Reuters.

Lebanon: Beirut blast judge suspends questioning of former PM 

Judge Bitar has sought to question top politicians, including former ministers and members of parliament, since July. However, nearly all have spurned him, and some have raised legal complaints against him, calling into question his impartiality.

In the past, the judge has issued arrest warrants for ministers who failed to show up for interrogation.

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