Lebanon’s Hezbollah sues PM’s brother over blast accusation

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s Hezbollah is suing the estranged brother of the country’s Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri after he accused the militant group of being responsible for the massive explosion at Beirut’s port earlier this year, a TV station reported Wednesday.

Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV gave no further details about the case filed against Bahaa Hariri, the son of late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and estranged brother of Saad Hariri.

The move came a week after Hezbollah said it was suing former Christian lawmaker Fares Souaid and the website of the right-wing Lebanese Forces party for accusing Hezbollah of being responsible for the Aug. 4 blast that killed more than 200 people and wounded thousands.

Hezbollah legislator Ibrahim Mussawi, who filed the case against Souaid and the website, told reporters last week that he also plans to press charges against Bahaa Hariri, a harsh Hezbollah critic who lives in exile.

The massive blast in August was caused by nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrates, a fertilizer improperly stored at a port warehouse for six years.

Since the blast, some of Hezbollah’s opponents and others have accused Hezbollah of storing explosive chemicals at the port. After Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war ended, Hezbollah was the only group allowed to keep its weapons as it was fighting Israeli forces that occupied parts of southern Lebanon.

However, Hezbollah has dismissed the accusation and no evidence has emerged to link the group to the explosive chemicals.

An investigation has yet to provide an explanation for what happened — or hold any senior official responsible. Families of the victims have asked for an international probe, in a country where violent attacks and assassinations are rarely brought to justice.

Lebanon’s port authority, security agencies and political leadership were all aware of the stored explosive chemicals at the port, documents have shown. The port is one of the country’s facilities where rampant corruption has been reported.

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