Lebanese PM and his cabinet ‘resign over explosion that killed 160’

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Lebanon’s PM and his cabinet are set to resign in the wake of the devastating Beirut explosion which has killed at least 160 people. 

PM Hassan Diab will address the nation tonight and his health minister Hamad Hasan says the Hezbollah-backed leader is expected to announce his resignation.

Several ministers have already walked out amid public outrage over the blast, while President Michel Aoun – who has rejected calls for an international probe into the disaster – is also facing calls to quit.

Last Tuesday’s disaster – caused by more than 2,000 tonnes of highly explosive ammonium nitrate which were piled up in a warehouse – killed at least 163 people and destroyed swathes of the Mediterranean capital, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.

Many in Lebanon see the blast as a symbol of corruption and incompetence among the country’s elite and protests have broken out in the wake of the disaster which followed months of political and economic meltdown

The information and environment ministers quit on Sunday as well as several lawmakers, and the justice minister followed them out on Monday.

Finance minister Ghazi Wazni, a key negotiator with the IMF over a rescue plan, is believed to have gone to the cabinet meeting with a resignation letter.

Lebanon is already seeking $20billion in funding from the IMF and now faces billions more in disaster costs, with losses from the explosion estimated to be between $10billion and $15billion.

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