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Probe into Beirut blast frozen over judge impartiality suit, source says By Reuters


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: This view depicts the damage to the grain silo during last year’s Beirut port explosion, at sunset in Beirut (Lebanon), July 29, 2021. Image taken July 29, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

BEIRUT (Reuters) -A probe into the catastrophic explosion at Beirut port was frozen on Monday when a former minister wanted for questioning as a suspect filed a case questioning the lead investigator’s neutrality, a judicial source said.

More than 200 people were killed in the Beirut port explosion on Aug. 4, 2020. Thousands more were injured and large swathes destroyed. A large amount of dangerous explosive chemicals had been kept in a safe warehouse for several years. This explosion caused the destruction.

A judicial inquiry into the explosion has failed to make any progress. This angers many Lebanese and their families.

After his predecessor was removed in February for similar reasons, Judge Tarek Bitar was named the lead investigator.

The judicial source said that Bitar was notified Monday about the case against Nohad Machnouk – a former interior minister who is currently a member of parliament.

The source stated that Judge Bitar would stop reviewing the file and cancel the sessions. This will happen until the court decides whether to accept or reject the case.

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