Lebanon’s Prime Minister Resigns Amid Public Outrage After Deadly Beirut Explosion

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab gives a speech in Beirut in March. Diab announced his resignation days after a disastrous explosion rocked Beirut. Dalati Nohra/AP

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced his cabinet’s resignation Monday, responding to outrage over a catastrophic explosion in Beirut.

“Today I announce the resignation of this government,” Diab said in a national TV address. “May God protect Lebanon.”

Diab’s speech was published by the National News Agency in Lebanon, the state-run media outlet.

His resignation came after last Tuesday’s deadly warehouse explosion — caused by 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored at Beirut’s port — that killed at least 160 people, wounded thousands and left many homeless, destroying a portion of the city.

Public anger mounted after the blast, focusing on the carelessness that led to one of the worst explosions in Lebanon’s history.

The huge trove of dangerous material, which officials say was known about for years, had been allowed to languish in the port since 2013. Intense protests erupted, with many calling for top officials to “resign or hang.”

“We are facing an earthquake that struck the country, with all its humanitarian, social, economic and national repercussions,” Diab said.

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SOURCE: NPR, Gabriela Saldivia, Ruth Sherlock, and Nada Homsi

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