Donald Trump Walks Back Claim That Beirut Explosion Was An Attack: ‘Nobody Knows Yet’

Donald Trump speaks during a news conference
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After suggesting that the Beirut explosion may be an “attack,” Donald Trump on Wednesday walked back his comment and claimed that the cause of the incident is still not known, The Hill reported.

“Whatever happened it’s terrible,” he said. “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.”

According to Trump, U.S. intelligence is looking into the matter “very strongly,” and there is no consensus yet on whether the explosion was an attack or an accident.

“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.”

As The Inquisitr reported, over 100 people died, and 4,000 were injured in the blast, which left many buildings in the Lebanese capital without windows or roofs. Others were wholly leveled by the explosion, which the country’s government said was likely caused by highly explosive chemicals stored in a warehouse.

Despite reports that the explosion was triggered by a welder, Trump said that some of America’s top generals believe that the event was caused by something more malicious.

“According to them — they would know better than I would — but they seem to think it was an attack, it was a bomb of some kind.”

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on August 5, 2020 in Washington, DC.
  Alex Wong / Getty Images

As reported by CBS News, Lebanon’s authorities claim the blast was caused by ammonium nitrate, a highly combustible chemical that was used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing carried out by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Lynn Nichols. The compound was also deemed to be the result of the 2013 explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant.

According to Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab, 2,750 metric tons of the explosive chemical had been stored in a Beirut warehouse in the city’s port area.

Jimmie Oxley, a chemistry professor at the University of Rhode Island, claimed that ammonium nitrate is a compound that is crucial for uses in construction and agriculture.

“We need ammonium nitrate, we just need to pay good attention to what we’re doing with it.”

According to The New York Times, anger is growing in Beirut after letters from 2014 to 2017 surfaced in which Lebanese customs officials sought legal help on how to dispose of the chemical safely. Hassan Koraytem, the general manager of Beirut port, said on Wednesday that their repeated calls for guidance were met with silence.

Diab claimed he would punish those responsible for the blast to the fullest extent of the law.