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Lebanese man who was seriously injured in massive explosion at Beirut port last year died nearly 15 months after blast

BEIRUT – A Lebanese man who was seriously injured in the massive explosion at the port of Beirut last year died almost 15 months after the explosion on Wednesday, his cousin said.

Abbas Mazloum was working at a restaurant near the port when the explosion happened in August last year, knocking him against a wall. He suffered serious spinal injuries and a head injury that required 45 stitches.

The 45-year-old father of five had been paralyzed and bedridden since the explosion. Last month he had back surgery and more recently he fell ill and developed a fever. This led to her death on Wednesday morning in her hometown of Brital in eastern Lebanon, her cousin Noura Mazloum told The Associated Press.

“His immunity had become so weak since the explosion,” Mazloum said, adding that his cousin was laid to rest in Brital cemetery on Wednesday afternoon.

Mazloum’s death brings the number of people killed by the explosion to at least 216, according to official records. The explosion also injured some 6,000 people, many from broken glass, flying objects and debris.

On August 4, 2020, hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive material used in fertilizers, ignited after a massive fire in the port. It later emerged that the nitrate had been inappropriately stored in a port warehouse for years, and senior political and security officials were aware of its existence and did nothing about it.

More than a year later, no one was held responsible for the explosion. The lead judge investigating the blast has had to suspend his work on the case at least three times so far, amid legal challenges from politicians and a growing campaign by Lebanese politicians against him.

Judge Tarek Bitar is the second judge to lead the complicated investigation. His predecessor was removed from his post following similar legal challenges by senior officials whom he accused of negligence which led to the explosion.

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab filed a complaint on Wednesday saying Bitar lacked jurisdiction to prosecute him. Diab’s decision, who was indicted by Bitar earlier, came a day before the former prime minister was supposed to be questioned by the judge, although he was not likely to appear.

Politicians opposed to Bitar, say officials holding the highest positions in the country as well as ministers and lawmakers should be questioned and tried by a special court for them.

A protest organized by militant group Hezbollah and its allies against Bitar earlier this month led to the worst clashes in the capital in years, killing seven and injuring dozens.

In an interview with An-Nahar daily on the first anniversary of the explosion, Abbas Mazloum said he expected there to be no justice in the case. He referred to many other explosions in Lebanon over the past decades that have gone unpunished.

When asked if he had faith in Lebanon, Mazloum replied, “Not at all.

“I lost everything in my life. I’m still breathing, ”Mazloum said in the video recorded with An-Nahar. “If we get justice, I will get my rights. These are the rights of my children.

In September, a 35-year-old man died at his family’s home in Beirut after being seriously injured in the blast.

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ABC News

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