Middle East

Hezbollah chief Nasrallah says Beirut port explosion investigator biased

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People carry national flags as they hold a moment of silence marking the one-year anniversary of Beirut's port blast, near the site of the explosion in Beirut, Lebanon August 4, 2021. REUTERS/Emilie Madi

BEIRUT, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Lebanese group Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech on Saturday that the investigator of the Beirut port blast was politically biased.

On Thursday, Beirut marked the one year anniversary of the blast that flattened large swathes of the city and killed more than 200 people. A judge, Tarek Bittar, is leading the probe into what happened.

"I am formally telling the family of the martyrs that this judicial investigator is playing politics, this is a politicized investigation," Nasrallah said.

He added he was not calling for Bitar's immediate removal but demanded that he operate under a single standard and release the results of a technical investigation.

Nasrallah also criticized people he did not name for blaming Hezbollah for the presence of the ammonium nitrate that caused the explosion.

"Where is your evidence for this ugly, heinous accusation? There is none," he said.

Reporting by Laila Bassam; Writing by Nafisa Eltahir; Editing by Barbara Lewis and Daniel Wallis

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