Hassan Diab
Hassan DiabReuters

A Lebanese judge leading the investigation into last year’s massive explosion at Beirut’s port on Thursday issued a subpoena for the country’s caretaker Prime Minister after he failed show up for questioning, The Associated Press reports.

Last month, judge Tarek Bitar confirmed charges filed by his predecessor against outgoing Prime Minister Hassan Diab and three former ministers. Diab was summoned for questioning on accusations of intentional killings and negligence. Bitar also summoned former and current generals, according to AP.

The Prime Minister had also declined to be interrogated last year by Bitar’s predecessor, Fadi Sawwan. Bitar was named to lead the investigation in February after Sawwan was removed following legal challenges by senior officials he had accused of negligence that led to the blast.

Nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive material used in fertilizers that had been improperly stored in the port for years, exploded on August 4, 2020, killing 211 people, injuring more than 6,000 and devastating nearby neighborhoods.

Diab and his entire cabinet resigned soon after the August explosion. Following the resignation of Diab’s cabinet, Mustapha Adib was designated as Prime Minister, but he himself bowed out just weeks after being nominated. Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri was then tasked with forming a new government, his fourth in the past decade, before he too bowed out.

A report published following the incident linked Hezbollah to the explosion at the port, saying the group received from Iran many supplies of ammonium nitrate.

The report cast doubt over the denial by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah that his group had any connection to the blast in Beirut.