US President Donald Trump on Wednesday tempered his comments that Tuesday’s massive explosion in the capital of Lebanon was an “attack,” telling reporters it was too soon to say whether the deadly incident was a deliberate act.
“Whatever happened it’s terrible,” Trump said of the explosion during a press briefing, according to The Hill. “But they don’t really know what it is.
Nobody knows yet. At this moment they’re looking — I mean how can you say accident.”
“I don’t think anybody can say right now. We’re looking into it very strongly… I mean you have some people think it was an attack and you have some people that think it wasn’t,” he added.
“In any event, it was a terrible event and a lot of people were killed and a tremendous number of people were badly wounded, injured.”
Trump’s acknowledgment that the explosion, which has killed more than 100 people, may have been an accident came a day after he raised eyebrows by describing the blast as an “attack” despite no indication from Lebanese officials that was the case.
The President said at the time that he had been briefed on the matter by generals.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday that “most believe” it was an accident, while the Lebanese government has said the explosion was likely caused by highly explosive material being stored at a major port in Beirut.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, in an interview which aired on CNN shortly before Trump clarified his comments, would not say himself if he believed the explosion was the result of a deliberate attack. He defended Trump’s interpretation, however, saying it was based on an initial briefing.
“Without sharing anything classified, I’ve been able to see a lot of what has taken place there. We’ll continue to evaluate that,” Meadows explained.
“Obviously, there’s no group that has claimed any responsibility but what the President shared with the American people is what he was briefed on.”
At least 100 people were killed and 4,000 people were injured in Tuesday’s massive explosion. The explosion was so massive that its shockwave shattered windows miles away from the blast.
Header: A wounded man sits on the ground waiting for aid at Beirut’s port following a massive explosion that hit the heart of the Lebanese capital on August 4, 2020. (AFP)
Source: Elad Benari – Arutz Sheva