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Lebanon’s army finds more ammonium nitrate near Beirut port

Lebanon’s army finds more ammonium nitrate near Beirut port”

A sniffer dog with a Chilean search-and-rescue team first detected something on Gemmayzeh Street as the team swept that part of the city. Images of the black and white 5-year-old dog named Flash, wearing red shoes to protect his feet, have circulated on social media with people describing him as a hero.

"We will not leave the site until we have finished searching under the rubble, even if the building looks like it might collapse", he added.

Some wept silently. Others held ropes tied as nooses - an indication of the grief and raw anger toward officials that persists in the country.

They said they would continue while there was a small chance of finding a survivor, and had narrowed their search.

Two days after the explosion, a French rescue team and Lebanese civil defense volunteers had looked into the rubble of the same building, where the ground floor used to be a bar.

"Where's your conscience? There's life under this building and you want to stop the work until tomorrow?" one woman told a soldier.

Lebanon relies on imports for 85 percent of its food needs, and the destruction of silos in the explosion could worsen an already alarming situation, aid agencies and experts have said.

More news: Capsized cattle ship search still on hold

For many Lebanese, Thursday's volunteer-led efforts are just the latest example of state failure, both in the lead-up to the explosion - caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate haphazardly stored at the Beirut port for nearly seven years - and in the explosion's aftermath.

The exact circumstances surrounding the blast remain unclear, though Lebanese security forces have advanced the theory sparks from a welding iron used to carry out maintenance on Beirut port's warehouse 12 hours before the explosion caused the hangar's contents to ignite.

The hypothesis has been rejected by many observers, including Lebanese protesters, many of whom blame government negligence and corruption for the blast.

Work was slow, rescue workers said earlier in the day, as the badly damaged building was at risk of complete collapse. Later, they brought a 360-degree camera placed at the end of a long stick and pushed it into a hole in the building.

Edward Bitar, a member of NGO Live Love Lebanon working with TOPOS CHILE in Lebanon, said they had detected 18 breath cycles per minute emanating from under the rubble using the sensor. The origin of the pulsing sound was not immediately known but it was enough to set off the frantic search.

Lebanon's army said on Thursday it had found 4.35 tonnes of ammonium nitrate near the entrance to Beirut port, the site of a huge blast last month caused by a large stockpile of the same highly explosive chemical.



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