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Iraq to take measures to properly store ‘dangerous chemicals’ after Beirut blast

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The Iraqi General Board of Customs said it had directed all the customs departments at land, sea and air entry points to submit the inventories of the dangerous materials being stored at their facilities and information about their owners.

The board further said it had also asked for reasons why their transfers weren’t completed.

“We are determined to continuously monitor such important dossier by directing its directorates to work on the basis of importing, transporting, and storing dangerous chemical materials,” the statement read.

A massive blast rocked Beirut port on Tuesday, killing at least 135 people and wounding more than 5,000. Lebanese President Michel Aoun blamed the blast on 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, used in fertilizers and bombs, that had been stored for six years at the port after it was seized.

A Lebanese official source familiar with preliminary investigations blamed the incident on “inaction and negligence”, saying “nothing was done” to remove hazardous material, according to Reuters.

A Lebanese security source said the initial blaze that sparked the explosion was caused by welding work.

Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud told Al Hadath TV total losses from the blast could reach $15 billion, including losses to businesses amid the broader fallout.



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