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'End of the world': Countdown to Beirut's devastating blast

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Posted at 4:03 AM, Aug 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-23 04:03:10-04

BEIRUT — Beirut residents were for years unaware of the massive “bomb” festering inside their seaport.

They could not know about the stockpile of ammonium nitrate warehoused since 2013 along a busy motorway, in the heart of a densely populated residential area.

They weren’t privy to warnings authorities had received, again and again, and ignored about the highly explosive chemical that’s used in fertilizer and sometimes to build bombs.

They knew they lived in a dysfunctional country, its government rife with corruption, factionalism and negligence that caused so much pain and heartbreak.

But they could not know that it would lead to the worst single-day catastrophe in Lebanon’s tragic history.