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Lebanese man severely wounded in Beirut port explosion dies

The scene the day after an explosion hit the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon, August 5, 2020. (Bilal Hussein/AP)
The scene the day after an explosion hit the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon, August 5, 2020. (Bilal Hussein/AP)

BEIRUT — A Lebanese man who was critically injured in the massive explosion at Beirut’s port last year died Wednesday nearly 15 months after the blast, his cousin says.

Abbas Mazloum was at work at a restaurant near the port when the blast occurred in August last year, throwing him into a wall. He suffered severe injuries to his spine and a head wound that required 45 stitches.

The 45-year-old father of five had been paralyzed and mostly bed-ridden since the blast. Last month, he underwent a back operation and more recently he got sick and developed a fever. That led to his death this morning in his hometown of Brital in eastern Lebanon, his cousin Noura Mazloum tells The Associated Press.

“His immunity had become so weak since the explosion,” Mazloum says, adding that her cousin was laid to rest in Brital’s cemetery Wednesday afternoon.

Mazloum’s death brings to at least 216 the number of people killed by the blast, according to official records. The explosion also injured some 6,000 people, many of them 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 at the port. It later emerged that the nitrate had been improperly stored in a port warehouse for years, and that senior political and security officials knew of its existence and did nothing about it.

More than a year later, no one has been held to account for the explosion. The lead judge investigating the blast had to suspend his work in the case at least three times so far, amid legal challenges from politicians and a growing campaign by Lebanon’s political class against him.

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