Lebanon Receives Port Blast Satellite Images from Russia
By Staff, Agencies
Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib announced on Monday that Lebanon received from Russia satellite pictures of the Port of Beirut on the day of last year's devastating blast.
The imagery would be the first made available by a foreign government to the Lebanese probe marred by legal challenges and political disputes.
Bou Habib said he hoped the images would help figure out what happened that tragic day. He is visiting Moscow and was speaking after a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
"We thanked and highly appreciate receiving satellite images for the blast at Beirut Port on Aug. 4, 2020 and we will hand them over to the Lebanese judiciary, hoping that can help in revealing the truth of this tragedy that has hit Lebanon," Bou Habib said during a press conference.
Russia's space agency Roscosmos said it would provide the satellite images after a request from Lebanese President Michel Aoun.
The imagery would be the first received by Lebanon of the day of the blast, a Lebanese judicial official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media. Requests to other countries have not been answered, with some saying their satellites were not directed at Lebanon at the time of the blast.
Lavrov said he hoped the images help in the investigation.
He said that the images showed the port of Beirut before the blast and also the scene after the blast.
"Roscosmos experts said it should help specialists figure out what happened based on the character of destruction," Lavrov said.
He further added: "The Lebanese experts, probably with the help of foreign colleagues, will sort out this issue that has become a serious political irritant for Lebanon."