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German Firm to Remove Dangerous Material From Beirut Port

FILE - Damaged cars remain at the site of the Aug. 4 blast in the port of Beirut that killed scores and wounded thousands, in Beirut, Lebanon, Aug. 17, 2020.

A German company is ready to remove hazardous materials stored in dozens of containers at Beirut's port, Germany's ambassador to Lebanon said Saturday, following efforts to secure the facility after the August 4, 2020, explosion that devastated the port and much of the city.

Ambassador Andreas Kindl tweeted that the treatment at Beirut's port for 52 containers of "hazardous and dangerous chemical material" has been completed. He added that the material was ready to be shipped to Germany.

The decision to remove the material followed the August explosion that was triggered by nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive fertilizer component, that had languished at the port for years. The blast killed 211 people, wounded more than 6,000 and destroyed parts of the capital.

In November, Lebanon signed a deal with Germany's Combi Lift to treat and ship abroad the containers consisting. The deal is worth $3.6 million, toward which port authorities in Lebanon will pay $2 million with the German government covering the rest.

Kindl said the material that was treated had been a threat to people in Beirut.

Since the August blast and a massive fire at the port weeks later, authorities have been concerned about dangerous material still at the facility. A month after the blast, the Lebanese army said military experts were called in for an inspection and found 4.35 tons of ammonium nitrate that was removed and destroyed.