Zoaiter, Judge Testify in Blast Probe as 3 Held over Fire

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Judicial Investigator Judge Fadi Sawwan on Wednesday heard the testimony of former public works and transport Minister Ghazi Zoaiter as part of the ongoing probe into the catastrophic Aug. 4 blast at Beirut port.

According to the National News Agency, Zoaiter appeared before Sawwan as a “witness.”

Judge Jad Maalouf, who was the Beirut urgent matters judge around three years ago, also appeared before Sawwan as a witness.

NNA said Sawwan asked him about the memos that he exchanged with certain authorities about the presence of tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate at the port.

Sawwan is scheduled to hear the testimony of Higher Defense Council chief Maj. Gen. Mahmoud al-Asmar on Thursday.

Beirut’s chief prosecutor, Ziad Abu Haidar, meanwhile charged three Lebanese and a Palestinian with negligence over a huge fire last week at Beirut’s port that badly polluted the air and traumatized the city’s residents, still reeling from the August explosion.

The fire also heavily damaged a warehouse where the International Committee of the Red Cross stores thousands of food parcels and cooking oil, the state-run National News Agency reported.

There were no casualties in the blaze, which was the second fire at the port since last month’s massive blast.

Two of the three Lebanese and the Palestinian were ordered arrested, the report said, without elaborating.

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