Lebanese information minister resigns in wake of deadly blast, mass protests

Last week, a devastating explosion rocked the port city of Beirut, Lebanon, killing more than 150 people and causing massive destruction across the region.

Amid violent protests calling for accountability for the carnage, Lebanese Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad announced on Sunday that she was resigning her position, as the Washington Examiner reports.

Deadly blast rocks Beirut

According to Fox News, the explosion has been linked to a Russian ship that had tansported nearly 3,000 metric tons of ammonium nitrate into the port back in 2013.

Due to ensuing financial troubles, the ship remained stranded in Beirut, as did its volatile cargo.

Eventually, the ship’s crew was repatriated to Russia, and the dangerous cargo was offloaded to a nearby port warehouse.

However, even though Lebanese authorities were made aware of the unstable nature of the cargo, no safety measures were taken during the intervening years as the ammonium nitrate remained in storage.

Repeated warnings were issued to government authorities in which it was suggested that the load amounted to a “floating bomb,” but no remedial action was ever initiated, according to Fox News.

Protests erupt

In the wake of the catastrophic blast, residents of Beirut and the surrounding area have swarmed the streets in recent days to demand accountability from government officials for for what happened.

Protesters want answers as to how an explosion that has left the city in ruins, killed an ever-rising tally of victims, wounded thousands, and left hundreds of thousands more homeless was ever permitted to transpire.

Abdel Samad’s resignation marks the second instance of a public official deciding to a government post in recent days, with Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti also departing on Monday.

In announcing her imminent departure, Abdel Samad stated, “I want to apologize to the Lebanese people, whose aspirations we were unable to fulfill due to the difficulty of the challenges facing us.”

President Donald Trump, for his part, has expressed his support for the protesters in Beirut and the U.S. government has also offered a helping hand in the form emergency disaster aid to the city that will reportedly include food, water, and critical medical supplies.

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