Two days after the deadly explosion which shook the Lebanese capital of Beirut, many questions remain about the massive blast. More images and videos of the devastation caused to the city continue to emerge as authorities investigate what exactly caused the blast that killed at least 135 people and left about 5,000 injured.
Arabic affairs expert Ehud Yaari of Channel 12 News spoke to Gideon Oko on Radio 103FM Thursday about the current situation in Lebanon.
Yaari explained that a clear picture of the situation has yet to emerge. "We know that a Hezbollah man, the head of Hezbollah's intelligence, was the one who rushed to say that this was all because of the ammonium nitrate which was being held there for seven years. The fact that he said that very quickly raises question marks for me."
He said he compared the explosions in Lebanon to similar incidents with the help of a team of chemists, and found: "It's a different kind of explosion, because it occurred in at least 2 stages."
Yaari also explained that in contrast to past cases, in the Lebanese case the reason for the blast is still unknown. "There is no explanation as to why for seven years since the ship unloaded this cargo in Beirut, for years nothing happened there. What someone did there may be malicious, but someone did something there that led to at least 2 explosions, and we do not have that answer."
Based on his familiarity with Lebanon, Yaari said: "When this hilarious commission of inquiry appointed by the Hezbollah-led government draws its conclusions, there will be some port workers there who will pay a heavy price. But that will not give the answer."
He noted that the material held in the port is also used for the production of positive things, such as the "preparation of fertilizers for agriculture, but on the other hand they can be used for the production, and are used for the production, of industrial explosives. But they have another aspect, these materials can be used to make improvised fuel for missiles. "Someone was willing to accept this - and this someone must be in Hezbollah - that this 2,700 tons of material is just lying there in 64,000 sacks. The whole port was destroyed - at the moment Lebanon has no port."
According to Yaari, 3,000 ships dock at the Beirut port every year, but without it Lebanon "won't ask to use the Haifa port. Maybe they'll ask to use a port from someone to the north. It should be remembered - the one who actually manages the port of Beirut ... is Nasrallah's brother-in-law. The head of Hezbollah's security services, who is married to Nasrallah's sister, he is the man. We remember the dismissive smile he had when he handed back the bodies of our two soldiers in that prisoner exchange. He is the man whose word is law in the Lebanese port. He is the one who should be questioned for answers, but he does not usually speak in public."
Did the explosion undermine Nasrallah's status in Lebanon? Is it possible that the incident will affect Hezbollah's popularity in the country? Yaari answered: "Nasrallah is immersed in the mud up to his waist. It's not that he is unaware of it. He knows he's in the mud now. The public outcry in Lebanon is huge. 350,000 people lost their homes. Lebanon is not a state. It's a rotting corpse of a state."
"This is a country that is in the pit of an $100 billion debt that it has no way to pay off. It is a country with 3,5 million people who have fallen into the depths of poverty. The general mood of the public in Lebanon is strongly expressed on social media, their anger is spreading to the entire political stratum in Lebanon, both to Hezbollah and to those who oppose Hezbollah. Because they have plundered the country through the banking system, and for years they have abandoned the citizens as they abandoned the ports. So everyone is guilty, and Hezbollah is guilty."