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Beirut Blast & Shockwave Tears Through City

Amid widespread speculation and multiple theories over what could have produced late afternoon blast of such magnitude, both Hezbollah and Israel have formally denied that it was the result of a missile or military attack.

Russian media reports have cited Israeli broadcasters to say:

Israel has nothing to do with the massive explosion that rocked Beirut on 4 August, the country’s parliamentary TV channel has announced.

Lebanese state sources have pointed to a large fireworks depot going up in flames, then detonating. However, there remain competing claims and speculation.

11 thoughts on “Beirut Blast & Shockwave Tears Through City”

  1. Orange-red smoke/explosion – in rockets typically means a Nitrogen Tetroxide / Hydrazine reaction gone wrong, and too much NTO gets out, leaks. What else makes orange-red smoke like that??

    I don’t think I’d want to be downwind of that, especially if it’s NTO.

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      • I think he means the type you propel things into orbit with, just from googling the terms. Doubt that stuff is used in fireworks.

        All the news articles I’m reading are repeating the ammonium nitrate line.

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  2. Hi from Greece.
    I have to submit a quite probable explanation of what and why has happened, based on a similar disastrous event that took place a few years ago in Cyprus (quite close to Lebanon btw, to the point that the explosion in Beirut made a lot of Cypriots to frantically call the emergency services, inquiring about the blast!).
    Well, some decades ago the Cypriot government seized an Iranian vessel in Cypriot waters, after being tipped by the US & British intelligence services that the ship carries an illegal cargo of high explosives, to be delivered to the mullahs in spite of the embargo. The containers carrying the explosives were temporarily stored at a military base in msinland Cyprus. But then a corrupt communist dwarf called Christophias made president of Cyprus, when the Cypriot communist party called AKEL was voted to power by a stupid citizenry. Note that when I refer to “communist”, it’s not the same as you refer you guys to your own Demonrats, or Antifa, or BLM. We’te talking about the real thing when we refer to AKEL & that crooked dwarf Christophias. Hammer & sickle, portrets of Lenin & Stalin hanging on the presidential office walls, etc.
    Christophias, who recently was found guilty by a court of law for unpaid bills of a couple million euro to the contractor that built his personal palatial home (that’s a real communist, there), didn’t want to upset his Iranian friends & supporters of his party. So even after repeated, through many years, offers of the US and the UK, to safely dispose of the explosives at the cost of the US or British taxpayer, he was keeping the explosives under unsafe conditions, being baked at 40°C under a tinroof inside the steel containers, by the Eastern Mediterranean sun. Obviously he had been hoping that in due time, after the matter would have been forgotten, he would be able to return the cargo to his Iranian friends, being handsomely rewarded by the ayatollahs.
    Until… a few summers ago, a huge explosion shook Cyprus, much like Beirut today. Not only the dead and wounded were counted in hundreds, but the exposion knocked down a nearby electric power production facility, crippling the island’s power capacity for many years to come (power factories are not quick to built and connect to the grid).
    So… Cyprus and Lebanon are very close (in more ways than mere spatial proximity suggests) and both are very, very hot… and both, it seems, are disposed to have a rather relaxed approach in storage conditions of high explosives… It’s a valid explanation: no terrorist action, no missile: only ballistic stupidity and corruption!!! William of Occam’s razor still applies: between alternative explanations, the simplest one is the most probable!
    Cheers from a Greek reader

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  3. Reports I’m seeing say that there was a seized cargo of “fertilizer” being stored near that “fireworks factory”, and that the fireworks works went up first, probably a “workplace accident”, and then the “fertilizer”.

    There are reasons you don’t find much in the way of industrial development in the region surrounding that end of the Med. Has a lot to do with the transmission of the cultural value of “Inshallah”, and the general fatalism of the people stemming from that. There’s no point to taking safety measures, ‘cos it’ll just happen anyway, will of God and all that.

    End of the day, I’d wager that there’s nothing nefarious going on here except typical Eastern Med fecklessness and inability to forecast cause and effect. You find some of that in the rest of the world, but they’ve got it down to a fine art–George highlights one event that I was going to mention when I first saw this, but he beat me to it. That deal in Cyprus was nuts, to my mind–The people on the ground were just as much at fault as the idiot elected, because if someone told me to store several cargo containers of explosives in my bonded customs yard? LOL–Get fucked, dumbass. That shit needs to go to some safe location, like a hardened military ammo dump (and, not a Soviet-style one, either…).

    Of course, the real problem here is the general disrespect that laymen have for energetic materials. Most of the damage at OKC back in the day almost certainly came from a sympathetic det of materials stored in evidence lockers belonging to the ATF there at the Federal Building. The stuff supposedly used by McVeigh et al almost certainly could not have caused that much damage, detonated where it was. The ATF office there was notorious for that BS–The city fire marshal had been in on an inspection, was refused access, and they did not have secured storage outside the Federal Building for shit-tons of stuff they were known to have confiscated and not yet destroyed.

    Lotta skeletons, there–I knew some of the active-duty Army EOD guys who were on-scene, and they had a bunch of questions, like how the hell did a low-order explosive manage to produce spalling effects on surfaces that shouldn’t have shown such things unless it was a really high-velocity explosive? I am still not satisfied that we ever got the truth out of that whole deal. Both those guys independently told me that they’d been alerted for something going on in OKC that morning, well before the blast happened. I think OKC was another “publicity event” for the assclowns of the ATF that went wrong; the “third man” identified with McVeigh was likely their guy on-scene, and the idea was probably to “capture” the bombers and get a big publicity payday.

    If you remember, there was legislation in Congress being debated right around then, which looked a lot like the Patriot Act…

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    • “Has a lot to do with the transmission of the cultural value of “Inshallah”, and the general fatalism of the people stemming from that.”

      PJ O’Rourke once commented that “inshallah” means much the same thing as “mañana” – without the sense of urgency in the latter term.

      Reply
  4. OK, taking off the gunsmith hat and putting on the firefighter hat…

    That was no load of fireworks. Nope.

    That brown cloud, coupled with the speed of the compression wave, means it was not fireworks. It was some compound rich in nitrates. I don’t know what, but that type orange/brown color smoke is tell-tale for firefighters of a nitrogen-rich oxidant of some sort involved in this mess.

    In fire training, they train you to “read” smoke. Smoke, the character, the speed of ejection/loft, the color, the smell – everything about smoke can tell you important informatino about the situation underneath the smoke.

    The speed and force of the over-pressure wave makes me sadly contemplate how many people are injured or dead due to no fault of their own. When an over-pressure wave like that is let loose in dense urban areas, people near windows are often cut to shreds by the glass blowing inwards in shards.

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  5. Now the Lebanese PM is saying that it was 2,750 tons (or tonnes – I’m not clear on this – there is a difference of about 200 lbs between a ton and tonne) of ammonium nitrate that was stored in a warehouse for “six years.”

    With the correct fuel (diesel, or soot, or some sort of carbon that is well-dispersed), ammonium nitrate can produce a very satisfactory ka-boom. Just ask some folks down Texas way about ammonium nitrate. They’ve had a few episodes with fertilizer-grade ammonium nitrate and broken windows.

    Reply

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