(WALL STREET JOURNAL) – Maintenance work likely led to the explosion of a large cache of ammonium nitrate that devastated a large part of the Lebanese capital last week, a U.S. government assessment concluded, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The assessment adds to the emerging picture of what caused the Aug. 4 blast that killed more than 160 people, with at least 60 others still missing. The explosion has stoked public outrage toward Lebanon's government, with many protesters demanding justice after the explosive material was stored for years in the port adjacent to the heart of Beirut, and calling for their country's leaders to be held accountable for years of poor governance and corruption.
After days of protests that forced Prime Minister Hassan Diab's cabinet to resign earlier this week, Lebanon's parliament in its first session since the explosion approved Thursday a state of emergency that grants sweeping powers to the military.
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