16 employees at Port of Beirut detained over explosion

More than 18 people have been questioned as part of investigation into this week's deadly explosion.

Elad Benari ,

Aftermath of Beirut explosion
Aftermath of Beirut explosion

A total of 16 employees at the Port of Beirut have been detained over Tuesday’s deadly explosion in the area, Government Commissioner to the Military Tribunal Judge Fadi Akiki announced on Thursday evening, according to the Xinhua news agency.

Akiki said that more than 18 people have been questioned so far, including port and customs officials as well as people in charge of maintenance at the hangar where explosive materials have been stored for years.

Meanwhile, Beirut's First Investigative Judge Ghassan Oueidat issued a decision prohibiting the travel of seven port officials.

The explosion on Tuesday killed at least 137 people and injured nearly 5,000 others, while causing massive damages in the city.

Lebanese authorities said it was triggered by a fire igniting 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate negligently stored in a warehouse at Beirut's port since 2013.

This raised questions as to how such a huge cargo of the highly explosive substance could have been left unsecured for so long.