Israel’s top Arabic expert, Professor Mordechai Kedar is challenging Hezbollah’s official narrative regarding the cataclysmic blast that shook Lebanon on Tuesday.
The official report given by the Lebanese authorities claims that a warehouse containing 2,750 tons of ammonia nitrate exploded. They also said that this material was stored in the warehouse for more than 6 years with the court’s approval. They even backed up the claim with documents.
“With all due respect to the Lebanese authorities, I don’t buy this story” Kedar said. “I believe that explosives, ammunition and missile fuel (which are highly volatile and flammable substances) were stored by Hezbollah inside the warehouse after being shipped from Iran.”
Kedar backs up his assessment with the following reasons:
1. There was a series of at least three explosions, each had a different outcome. The first formed a grey column of smoke that lingered for a few minutes. The second, featured a column of red smoke that also remained for several minutes, while the third created a white mushroom cloud that dissipated within seconds. Therefore, there were at least 3 different materials involved.
2. Anyone who is familiar with how a port operates, understands that the front row of warehouses, which are closest to the water, are used for short term storage purposes. Cargo that is intended for long-term storage is transported to warehouses which are further away from the sea.
3. Anyone who ships sensitive cargo and does not want it to be seen, photographed or attacked by others – from the air, sea or ground – attempts to store it as close to the ship as possible.
4. The Beirut Port replaced the Damascus Airport as the top destination for importing ammunition and explosives from Iran. This happened after Israel (according to foreign sources) attacked the warehouses at the Damascus Airport several times. What used to arrive at the Damascus Airport is now sent to the Beirut seaport via freight.
5. What likely took place on August 4 is that the explosive and flammable materials were stored for at least one day in a metallic, non-ventilated warehouse in the month of August when the temperatures are extremely hot. I believe that missile-fuel fumes evaporated from a container and when they made contact with the hot wall or ceiling, they ignited and created a chain reaction which catalyzed the three explosions.
6. Less than an hour following the explosions, Hezbollah said that the explosive material was nitrate. Hezbollah originally reported it. The reason – Hezbollah was looking for a way to cover up what really happened and to control the official version, because no one would dare challenge them.
7. In my opinion, very few people in Lebanon buy the nitrate story. I think that (Hezbollah Secretary General) Hassan Nasrallah is viewed by the Iranians and his friends in Hezbollah as personally responsible for this disaster. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that he suffered a “heart attack” and thus ends his role as Hezbollah’s secretary general. Perhaps the “heart attack” will be fatal.