World Summary: July 31, 2022

Some of the silos damaged in the 2020 explosion fall over

Some of Beirut’s massive harbor grain silos, shredded during the 2020 explosion, collapsed into a massive dust cloud on Sunday after a weeks-long fire caused by grains fermented and ignited in the summer heat.

The north block of the silos toppled over after what sounded like an explosion. It is not clear if anyone was injured.

The 50-year-old, 157-meter-tall silos had withstood the force of the explosion two years ago, effectively shielding western Beirut from the blast, killing more than 200 people, injuring more than 6,000 and severely damaging entire neighborhoods. . .

In July, a fire broke out in the northern block of the silos because of the fermenting grains. Firefighters and soldiers were unable to extinguish it and it smoldered for weeks, releasing a foul odor that spread widely. The Environment and Health ministries last week instructed residents near the port to stay indoors in well-ventilated areas.

The silo collapse on Sunday comes just days before the second anniversary of the explosion in 2020, one of the largest explosions in Lebanon’s troubled history. It happened less than a year after an uprising rocked the country, with hundreds of thousands of protesting entrenched sectarian political parties. The blast also accelerated Lebanon’s economic crisis, costing billions of dollars in damage and destroying thousands of tons of grain.

UN peacekeepers kill 2, injure at least 15

UN peacekeepers returning from leave opened fire at a border post between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda, killing at least two people and injuring at least 15, the UN mission and Congolese officials said Sunday.

Tensions between the people of the troubled eastern Congo and the UN peacekeepers have risen dramatically over the past week, with nearly 20 dead in protests calling on troops to leave the region.

Bintou Keita, head of the UN mission in Congo and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, said he was shocked by the shooting in Kasindi, a border town in the Congolese province of North Kivu. She said it was not clear why the peacekeepers opened fire.

She said the soldiers’ home country has been contacted so that legal proceedings can begin. Their nationality was not given.

The Congolese government condemned the shooting and confirmed a preliminary toll of two dead and 15 injured.

Protesters accuse peacekeepers of failing to protect civilians amid mounting violence. According to the United Nations, the mission has more than 16,000 uniformed personnel in Congo.

Sadr followers camp for second day in parliament

With mattresses strewn, food wheeled in and protesters masquerading as lawmakers, hundreds of followers of an influential Shia cleric camped in the Iraqi parliament on Sunday after toppling down the security walls surrounding the building and storming it the previous day.

The protesters — supporters of the cleric Moqtada al-Sadr — promised to hold an open sit-in to derail the efforts of their rivals from Iran-backed political groups to form Iraq’s next government. Their demands are lofty: snap elections, constitutional changes and the ousting of Sadr’s opponents.

The developments have plunged Iraq deeper into a political crisis as a power struggle unfolds between the country’s two main Shia groups.

Sadr did not visit the scene but urged his loyalists to tweet on Sunday that the sit-in was “an amazing opportunity to radically challenge the political system, the constitution and the elections”. The Shia cleric called on all Iraqis to join the “revolution,” an indication that the sit-in is likely to be a lengthy event.

On Saturday, protesters used ropes and chains to topple concrete walls around Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, before storming into the convention building. It was the second such breach last week, but this time they did not spread peacefully.

The takeover of parliament showed that Sadr used his large supporters as a pressure tactic against his rivals in the Coordination Framework — an alliance of Shia parties backed by Iran — after his party failed to form a government despite claiming victory. had achieved. the largest number of seats in the October federal elections.

Iranian Border Guards and Taliban Forces Reportedly Clash: Iranian border guards clashed with the Afghan Taliban, Iranian media reported, the last cross-border exchange since the Taliban took power in neighboring Afghanistan a year ago. The semi-official Iranian news agency Tasnim quoted Iran’s deputy interior minister as saying that Taliban forces first opened fire on the Iranian guards and forced them to fire back until the exchange ended about an hour and a half later. Since the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan in August 2021, there have been repeated clashes between Iranian security forces and Afghan Taliban forces along the border.

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